Sleepy Hollow: The Film and The Story Essay

Sleepy Hollow: The Film and The Story Essay

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Washington Irving’s short story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” was adapted into a movie titled “Sleepy Hollow” directed by Tim Burton nearly two centuries after the original publication. When the story was adapted as a film, several extensive changes were made. A short story easily read in one sitting was turned into a nearly two-hour thriller, mystery, and horror movie by incorporating new details and modifying the original version of the story. The short story relates the failed courtship of Katrina Van Tassel by Ichabod Crane. His courtship is cut short by the classic romance antagonist-the bigger, stronger, and better looking Broom Bones. Ichabod wishes to marry Katrina because of her beauty but also because of the wealthy inheritance she will receive when her father, Baltus Van Tassel and stepmother, Lady Van Tassel die. However, the film tells the story of Ichabod Crane as an investigator who is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate the recent decapitations that are occurring. These modifications alter the original story entirely, thus failing to capture the Irving’s true interpretation of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” The film and the original story have similarities and differences in the plot, characters, and setting.
Although the titles of the two works are relatively similar, the plot of each is different. If the film does not include the character, Ichabod Crane, and the reference to a Headless Horseman, the film would have no resemblance to Irving’s story. The difference in structure of plot in the two works changes the entire story. Every facet of the story is different between the two. The exposition offers the audience different stories because Ichabod has a new profession in the movie. The conflict in the two w...


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...as a film is far different from Irving’s original interpretation from 1820. By vastly changing the plot, Burton’s film fails to capture several of the elements that Irving incorporates. Both works have differences in plot, character, theme, point of view, but their setting allows the two to remain connected in their grim similarities.



Works Cited
Irving, Washington. "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 7th ed. Vol. B. New York: Norton &, 2007. 965-985. Print.
Sleepy Hollow, Dir. Tim Burton. Perf. Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, and Miranda Richardson. Paramount Pictures, 1999. Film
Bernardo, Susan. “The Bloody Battle of the Sexes in Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow” EBSCO Publishing 39-43. Print.
Orr, Stanley, “A Dark Episode of Bonanza ‘Genre, Adaptation, and Historiography in Sleepy Hollow’” EBSCO Publishing 44-49. Print.

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