The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and Postcolonialism College

Terry W. Thompson’s article “‘Lively but Complicated:’ English Hegemony in ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’” was published in Midwest Quarterly in 2013. In this article, Thompson explores the political climate in Washington Irving’s famed short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and evaluates the character Ichabod Crane through a postcolonial lens. Thompson contends that in addition to conventional interpretations of the work, Irving’s short story may be read as an expression of the historical “cultural tension” between Dutch and English settlers in early American society (136). While Irving’s work is generally read as an exploration of the themes of past versus future or rural versus urban, Thompson argues that there is a larger theme of clashing cultures at the core of these interpretations. In his article, Thompson asserts that Ichabod Crane may be viewed as the embodiment of English colonialism.

In support of his argument, Thompson highlights the various characteristics that make Ichabod stand out as an example of English colonialism. As a man of English heritage from Connecticut, Ichabod is an outsider and minority in the predominantly Dutch area of Sleepy Hollow. Although one might assume that Ichabod’s position as an...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1188 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 9167 literature essays, 2394 sample college application essays, 405 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in