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…show more content…
Conversely the conflict in the film happens during the killing spree prompted by Lady Van Tassel. Moreover, the climax in the two works is different. In the film, the climax occurs when Ichabod realizes that Lady is alive and she might be the one behind the murders. The climax from the story occurs when Ichabod realizes he is being chased and will probably not come out alive. Susan M. Bernardo, a critic of the film, describes the changes done as “the exploration of superstition, the supernatural, and the symbolic (linked with feminine) in opposition to reason, science and the written word (linked with masculine); but also toward the unraveling of patriarchal property and female revenge” (39). The gender roles appear to be switched in the plot, according to Bernardo, when comparing the roles in the film and in the story because it is the women who are strong and fearless in the film. The men appear tense because they worry of being decapitated by the Headless Horseman in the film. All the female characters are stronger and fearless of death. Katrina particularly holds power over Ichabod because he has begun to like her beauty and smiles at the thought of being with her. The reason for his desire to court Katrina is because of her eventual inheritance and marrying her is the only way to attain it. However, Irving’s story fails to develop several of the male characters as important factors in the plot. The story does not provide any

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