Home :: Core Classics :: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

From the Introduction

At the time of the American Revolution Europeans tended to think of America as rough and uncivilized. Washington Irving’s short stories came as a surprise to them. Indeed, a great part of his fame in America rested on the fact that he was the first New World writer who Old World readers considered worth reading.

Short stories themselves were new, too, and Irving’s tales showed what their possibilities were. His sketches, as he called them, were entertaining, not preachy, as other short pieces of that era tended to be. They had distinctive characters in vivid settings. When his classically clear style joined those elements, Irving’s tales became polished and satisfying.

Irving was certain that humor is life’s saving grace. In the preface to one of his books of tales, he said, “I have always had an opinion that much good might be done by keeping mankind in good humor with each other.” He wrote for pleasure and to give pleasure, but not just for the sake of being funny. His comic sense is rooted in his understanding of life’s strange truths and sometimes sad twists.

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle” have been among Americans’ favorite stories since the day they first appeared. They are based on older German folktales whose settings are shifted to the Hudson River Valley in the days of New York’s Dutch settlers, who had a reputation for being superstitious and fond of practical jokes. In both stories, those times have the aura of legend attached to them. Irving saw that the revolution of 1776 ended more than colonial government. The new nation, young and energetic, shook off old ways, including some that Irving found comforting. So, in remembrance, he gave the newborn United States myths of its past.

In “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” Ichabod Crane, a spindly Connecticut schoolmaster, and Brom Bones, a strapping young Dutch farmer, are rivals for the affections of a blossoming farm lass, Katrina Van Tassel. Ichabod loves her for the bounty of her father’s barn. Brom loves her for her figure. Ichabod’s plans for parlaying the Van Tassel farm into a new mansion on the western frontier contrasts with the fun-loving nature of Brom Bones and hints that Irving saw his new country as becoming too caught up with money and status.

“Rip Van Winkle” is a fantasy of escape from adult responsibility. Rip is an overgrown child who sleeps through the years when he should be mature and able to take of himself and others. Sometimes we do wish we could be irresponsible and the story imagines a magical way to put into the past duties that might be unpleasant. But as Rip sleeps his world passes away. Rip does not fear the strange little men he meets deep in the mountains, but he does get scared when the people in his hometown no longer know who he is.

There were surely days when Irving, who regretted that he had idled through much his youth, would have been happy to curl up in a cozy corner and let time and worry just pass by. But in his tales he tells us we must accept changes, even when we don’t want them to happen.

E. D. Hirsch, Jr.
Charlottesville, Virginia

Download the free teacher's guide for The Legend of Sleep Hollow!

Available in eBook format on Amazon.com.

ISBN: 978-1-890517-14-4

© 1999

SKU CCLSH
Weight 1.00 lbs
 
Our price: $8.95
Quantity Price
25+ Items $7.61
*Note:
Qty
Add to wish list
: *
: *
: *
 
Realms Of Gold Volume 2
 
Core Knowledge Preschool DVD
 
The Stop and Think Songbook CD
Realms Of Gold Volume 2
 
Core Knowledge Preschool DVD
 
The Stop and Think Songbook CD
$20.95
 
$15.00
 
$24.95
 
Art Resources Grade 1
 
Prek-K Music CD Set
 
Grade 1 And 2 Music CD Set
Art Resources Grade 1
 
Prek-K Music CD Set
 
Grade 1 And 2 Music CD Set
$38.00
 
$29.95
 
$29.95
 
What Your Third Grader Needs to Know
 
Teacher Handbook for Third Grade
 
Day-By-Day Workbook Full-Day K
What Your Third Grader Needs to Know
 
Teacher Handbook for Third Grade
 
Day-By-Day Workbook Full-Day K
$22.00
 
$79.95
 
$24.95

Product rating

Sign in to rate

Customer Reviews

There have been no reviews for this product.