Sleepy Hollow ~ Final Question

by Washington Irving

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Sleepy Hollow ~ Final Question

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Oct 23, 2005 10:11 am

I just bought a book of American short stories. The first story in the book is Irving's Sleepy Hollow. Why do you think the Legend of Sleepy Hollow has endured as such a popular story since 1819?
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Unread postby Liz » Sun Oct 23, 2005 11:17 am

I think it is probably a great story for teachers to use in lit class in middle school. It gives the kids an introduction to the old English style of writing in a small dose. It also gives some great examples of descriptive writing, which is something that kids are required to perform in language arts. It's a good choice from a historical perspective too. The story line also appeals to kids because there is some mystery to it.
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Unread postby nebraska » Sun Oct 23, 2005 12:02 pm

You may be right, Liz. It was required reading way back when that textbook of mine was published in the 30s. Probably for the exact reasons you mention.

But there has to be more to it than that. Otherwise Burton wouldn't have still wanted to make a movie based on the story all these years later....although in somewhat different form .... and no one would have gone to see it or bought the DVD. Maybe it just speaks to the secret fears we all have on a dark night or when we hear strange noises nearby.....

Hope someone else has something more concrete to add.

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Unread postby Betty Sue » Sun Oct 23, 2005 12:51 pm

I agree that it is a perfect story for English class, and that's helped to keep it alive. Also, I think all ages enjoy it because it is written by a very gifted writer (once one lets herself slow down and appreciate all the flowery phrases). It's a simple but well-crafted story that allows storytellers to embellish it as much as they want to make it scarier or funnier. And that's where Tim and Johnny jumped in and put their stamp on it.
It probably doesn't hurt that there's an actual region of New York involved and that it's a great story to retell every year when Halloween rolls around.
Or maybe there's just some mystical magical spell about the story... :eyebrow:
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Oct 23, 2005 3:35 pm

After reading that Irving was the first American writer to become famous outside of America I suppose that keep his name in the forefront of teaching English lit. It's a story a lot of Americans are familiar with, even if it's just the Disney version, so it would have made a popular movie choice. As Betty Sue said, It has both humor and horror which makes it somewhat unique I think.

Thanks everyone for participating this week. Be sure to check in tomorrow when Liz begins Poe Week... :mwahaha: :baby:
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Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby deedee » Sun Oct 23, 2005 4:24 pm

I always like to think that Irving was the first to write a true American piece of Fiction. Up until his works, you have literature that was political in nature. Irving, to me, set the tone for future American writers, using American English,of the period, American culture mixes of the area,Dutch and British, threw in a little History, Folklore, and came up with one great story that it timeless. Let's hope works like this stay as a staple of American Lit in our schools.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Oct 23, 2005 6:21 pm

Good point, deedee. He also wrote many other popular pieces and became quite a celebrity of the time.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Raven » Sun Oct 23, 2005 6:30 pm

I remember Tim saying one reason he wanted to make SH was that it was one of a few real american fables, a story that originated in America. Alot of the fairy tales that the Americans reat at that time were from europe.

thanks Liz and DITHOT!
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Unread postby dharma_bum » Sun Oct 23, 2005 7:31 pm

In print, Sleepy Hollow is an only slight untidy “ghost” story about things that go bump in the night that doesn’t end badly… the darkness isn’t deep or malevolent. Americans seem to need a happy ending, always have and always will. I think that’s one of the reasons it’s endured... it's a little creepy, but mostly benign.

Thanks Liz and DITHOT for at least getting me to rediscover something I HAD TO read in school.

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