Analysis of The Romantic Elements In Sleepy Hollow

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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In the novel Sleepy Hollow, by Peter Lerangis, several elements of the Romantic period of literature are evident. Themes carry throughout the novel that suggest a strong Romantic influence upon the text. The story is rich in colorful figurative language and contains a spell-binding plot that leaves the reader feeling very satisfied. In the midst of such an enchanting story are the Romantic themes, such as a deep appreciation of nature in conjunction with the condemnation of city life, exaltation of emotion over reason along with the defiance of conventional rules and traditions, and interest in local folk/ethnic culture, while providing the reader with plenty of attention to the supernatural. Each of these elements combines to create a work of traditional Romantic genius.

The author's appreciation of nature is very evident throughout this story. In the midst of even the darkest of situations, Lerangis is always able to pay attention to the environment which surrounds the characters.

In the last scene of the book, and perhaps one of the more terrifying, the characters are shown "landing on the soft Earth"(Lerangis 141). This "soft[ness]" connotes a very positive tone about the Earth, saying that even in the darkest and deadliest of times, the Earth still provides a comfortable and gentle reservoir of hope. The tree which houses the headless horseman is known as "the tree of the dead"(Lerangis 75). Although this tree is physically dead, it is inhabiting a wealth of life. The tree of the dead is a symbol, not only for evil, but for the destruction of nature. Katrina observes that "the tree bleeds"(Lerangis 74). In doing so, the reader is shown that the destruction of natural beauty has led to the spawning of evil; all of which is embodied by this tree. In conjunction with the...