The development ofAmerica is captured in both factual and fictional stories. . Thecharacters in the The Legend of Sleepy Hollow are specificallyshaped to represent well-thought attributes of America. The author ofsleepy hollow uses characters to expound on the development of youngAmerica. WashingtonIrving is reflected as the father of American folktale. Hisinscription depicts the invention of the American myths that dealwith ancestors, heroes, and mystical beings that are an essentialpart of the American culture.
Thetradition reflected in the story expounds on the aspects of thenatural world by presenting the psychology, ideals, and customs ofthe American society. The legend of sleepy hollow is a fable forembryonic America. It is a tale of opposing forces between good andevil, paranormal and reality or known and the mysterious (Irving).
First, Irvingsuccessfully depicts the fresh physiognomies of America through thedescription of the Valleyof Sleepy Hollow.He describes America as a tranquil place (Irving).He observes that the land is restful as to cause one to sleep “Theoccasional whistle of a quail, or tapping of a woodpecker, is almostthe only sound that ever breaks in upon the uniform tranquility”(Irving). The beauty and tranquility indicate new land as perceivedby the first settlers. Besides, the land was not only beautiful buthad overflowing natural resources. It was favorable for thecultivation of wheat, rye, buckwheat, ruddy fruit and Indian corn(Irving).
Irwin furtherflourishes in depicting America as a land of dreams similar to anyother unexplored territory. Besides, the land had the tendency tomake anyone passing by to imagine akin to the first settlers inAmerica who went there in search of a new world, riches, a new life,and freedom. He also fulfills the view of America as the land ofdreams to have a better life (Irving).
Regarding thecharacters, Irving depicts a new nation in the sense of an underdog.Ichabod Crane is portrayed as a knowledgeable schoolteacher. However,he lacked a prestigious position in the community.“Hewas tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms, andlegs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that mighthave served for shovels” (Irving).Nevertheless, the writer further depicts Ichabod’s determinationand optimism by observing that he has a mixture of bendability andperseverance. It is also apparent that even though he bent, he neverbroke (Irving).
Inconclusion, Irvin describes the invention of the American storiesthat present key people who were instrumental in shaping the Americanculture. The tranquility in the country as outlined by the author isconsistent with the perception that the early settlers had of Americaas the land of opportunities. Just like a young America, he correctlyrepresents the rank of the new country among other nations
Like manyAmerican literally works in the renaissance period, Hawthorne’sworks are dominated by symbolism. TheMinister’s Black Veilsymbolically represents how individuals can conceal vagary andobstinacy. Hawthorne talksabout secrets, sin and sorrowful mysteries that people hide from thesociety. He uses the expressions of other people to show the waypeople perceive doubtful situations.
First, theveil symbolizes that people have hidden secrets. At the inaugurationof the narrative, Mr. Hooper astonishes the crowd when he firstappears with a two-folded veil on his face. Although the crowd failsto recognize the coincidence between his appearance and the topic ofthe sermon, the veil meant to emphasize on the subject about people`ssecret sin. He adds that people can ignore their consciousness whileforgetting that the Omniscient can detect them (Hawthorne).Hawthorne communicates the idea of hypocrisy among people. Humanshave the tendency to act as if they do not sin and forget that Godcan see their sins in secret. A similar theme occurs when the pastorappears with the veil for the first time. He acted as if there wasnothing different with him, yet people were questioning whether itwas truly Mr. Hooper’s face behind the veil, “With one accordthey started, expressing more wonder than if some foreign ministerwere coming to dust the cushions of Mr. Hooper`s pulpit ?’”(Hawthorne).Similarly, the hidden secrets of people make them lose their identityto others and God.
Second, theveil serves as a metaphor indicating the consequences of hiding one’ssins in the heart. Hawthorne noted that secret sin makes humans losethemselves. Consequently, they are unable to enjoy their lives. Theseparation effect of the veil is well depicted, “that piece ofcrape hung between him and the world. It separated him from thecheerful brotherhood and woman’s love and kept him in that saddestof all prisons in his own heart” (Hawthorne).
Hawthorneuses the idea of the secret sin to depict the contrast betweendarkness and light. He describes light as goodness and darkness asevil and precisely that evil can overcome goodness. During thewedding, it is perceptible that Mr. Hooper’s black veil engrossedpeople’s attention during the joyous event. Those who attended thefunction found it inappropriate for him to wear a black veil duringthe wedding” (Hawthorne).The veil had an immediate effect on the guests, and it appeared as acloud from the crape that dimmed the light of the candles(Hawthorne).
Theveil depicts the need for humans to recognize that they are allsinners. Hawthorne indicates this by illustrating the desire of dyingindividuals to associate with Reverend Hooper in their last minutes.It shows that the veil achieved its preferred effect. The dyingsinners develop a likeness with Mr. Hooper and precisely, they areattracted to his cover confirming that they are not alone.
Inconclusion, the authorsymbolically exploits the minister’s veil to express the people’sfeelings towards the unknown. It conceals secrets and it depicts thedifference between light and darkness. Hawthorne also illustratesthat people identify they are sinners during their last moments.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “The Ministers Black Veil: A Parable.” Eldritch Press.2014. Web. 29 Jul. 2016.<http://www.eldritchpress.org/nh/mbv.html>
Irving, Washington. “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”Bartleby,1917.Web. 29 Jul. 2016. <http://www.bartleby.com/310/2/2.html>