Essay on Comparing Sleepy Hollow and The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow

Essay on Comparing Sleepy Hollow and The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow

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Comparing Sleepy Hollow and The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow


Over time, a change has occurred from the typical horror story to a violent and bloody legend. The original short story " The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow" is an example of a simple, yet mysterious fable in which Ichabod Crane acts as the protagonist. Ichabod becomes the victim of the feared headless horseman after believing the superstitious tales of this spirit preying in the night. The film that is supposedly based upon the tale provides a deceiving, yet compelling title of Sleepy Hollow, as one might assume that the film is a reenactment of the short story. The film and original tale differ in that the film has blood, gore and controversy while the story depicts a simple and descriptive place where an evil incident occurred. The gap between the story and the film is somewhat large, as the two are almost completely different. This gap displays how our culture has transformed the originality of the 1800's to a gruesome and elaborate fairy tale through desensitization.

Ichabod is introduced into the short story as a pedagogue for the children of Sleepy Hollow. Although his physical appearance was somewhat unpleasant, he was adored by many, and especially by the women and children of the town. He was useful to the community as he "assisted the farmers in the light labours of their farms, helped to make hay, mended fences, took the horses to water, drove the cows from pasture, and cut wood for the winter fire." His demeanor was one of innocent kindness and of willingness to help others.

In the film, Ichabod kept his spirit of modernity, but instead of an occupation as a schoolteacher, he was a constable in New York City. He was sent to Sleepy Ho...


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... of blood and gore, but rather a clear account of the encounter between Ichabod and the headless horseman. The film on the other hand, gives gory detail after detail to the fight scenes and encounters with Ichabod and other characters as they try to escape the headless horseman.

The short story contains a moral, which is revealed at the very end by the storyteller. Its intent was to prove "That there is no situation in life but has its advantages and pleasures, provided we will but take a joke as we find it: That therefore, he that runs races with goblin troopers, is likely to have rough riding of it: Ergo, for a country schoolmaster to be refused the hand of a Dutch heiress, is a certain step to high preferment in the state." If the film were to have a moral to its story, it may read something like this: " Kill the antagonist and live happily ever after."

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