Tamara Nelson Myers English 2327 February 28, 2013 Seeing What You Believe Having strong ties to a particular subject causes strong feelings on it. When you believe in something you are, in my opinion, more likely to see it or think you’ve seen it. In Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” Irving tells a story of just this type of situation. Article Analysis In Greg Smith’s “Supernatural Ambiguity and Possibility in Irving’s ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’,”, Smith makes many claims on the occurrences in the story.
One of the claims that stuck out to me the most was how he talks about how rather or not the headless horseman was real was left as an open-ended topic. Diedrick Knickerbocker, the narrator of the story, never actually claims a solution to what happened to the Ichabod Crane and how he disappeared. Smith refers to the fact that at the end of the story, Knickerbocker states that “the old country wives maintain to this day that Ichabod was spirited away by supernatural means. ”(Smith par. 11).
Smith also brings up the conversation in the “Postscript” in which a man is sharing the story of Ichabod Crane’s disappearance (Smith par. 12). The narrator of this part, who I believe to be Ichabod, ends the story by saying “Faith sir.. I don’t believe one half of it myself”(Smith par. 12). Another claim smith makes is that “Sleepy Hollow” might not have been as good of a story had Brom Bones been found guilty of being the horseman (Smith par. 8). Leaving the possibility of a supernatural event draws the reader in, opens up debatable topics and causes people to want to share their opinion on what they feel happened.
Original Claim In Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a pedagogue school teacher lets his imagination of the supernatural and his desire for wealth get the best of him and he scares himself out of town. Brom pretends to be the Headless Horseman and is able to drive Ichabod out of town by using his fears, pursuit of power and rejection from Katrina against him. Brom Bones, who was in competition with Ichabod over the heart of Katrina Van Hassel, never admitted to having anything to do with Cranes disappearance, but seemed to know a lot about the situation.
Bones would “look exceedingly knowingly whenever the story of Ichabod was related. ” (Irving 775) If one knows nothing about a subject then they usually wish to acquire knowledge, not spread around false stories. I feel as if Brom was in fact the culprit who pretended to be the headless hessian. The atmosphere of the town in general also plays a large part in what the townsmen will believe in. They are somewhat brainwashed by all the folklore that is passed around by the people. Everything is haunted, “haunted fields, haunted brooks, haunted bridges, haunted houses,” (Irving 761).
With so much of a spooky sphere around the town why would anyone think to believe in anything else? During the party, everyone shared ghost stories instead of “normal” party talk, (Irving 773). Ichabod had to leave the party and ride home in darkness with all these spooky thoughts on his mind. With the absence of other opinions the only thing you can think is that the headless horseman took Ichabod and added him to his body count. Another reason Brom is the Headless Horseman is because Ichabod is not around to share what really happened. The only thing they found was Ichabod’s hat, the horse’s saddle, and a smashed pumpkin.
The pumpkin was most likely the head in which Ichabod thought was thrown at him knocking him off of his horse and into the brook. This is important because in the original tale, the horseman was looking for his head. Brom would not have known this because he, unlike Ichabod, did not have as much knowledge of the story (Irving 774-775). I believe Ichabod fled town after he was tricked so badly by Brom. He also had built up aggression about the fact that Katrina chose his foe over him and his dreams of wealth through marriage were ended (Irving 762).
Ichabod let his emotions and imagination get the best of him and he scared himself out of town. Rather than go back and face the people he goes to New York and pursues odd jobs for happiness. His greatest achievement was being a judge in the Ten Pound Court, (Irving 775), as a way to feel the void of losing Katrina’s heart. In the end muscle out smarted the brian. Conclusion Smith talks about how the headless horseman could possibly be real and Ichabod could have experienced a ghost encounter. Though I do believe in the supernatural, I feel as if Brom Bones was the culprit.
He used Ichabod’s weaknesses against him and not only got him to flee town, but won the girl they were both after. Works cited Irving, Washington. “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. ” Anthology of American Literature. 10th ed. Vol. 1. Eds. George McMichael and James S. Leonard. Boston Pearson Education Inc. , 2011 755-777. Print. Smith, Greg. “Supernatural Ambiguity and Possibility in Irving’s ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. ’” Midwest Quarterly. 42. 2. www. Library. uta. edu. Web. February 25, 2013.
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