The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

In your own words describe Ichabod Cranes position in the village .

In your own words describe Ichabod Cranes position in the village

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Ichabod Crane is the school teacher of the village. There is an air of mystery about this guy. He travels from village to village so housewives gossip about his talents. He is also the singing master of Sleepy Hollow, for which he makes some extra money, and the local women like his skills, so he gets by quite well. In reality he is an unattractive (ugly) man who is greedy and self absorbed.

Ichabod is characterized in many different ways, the first being physical. Irving tells us that Ichabod is tall and skinny, with gangly hands and shovel-sized feet. We are also told that he is neat in his grooming and appearance, and that his nose is of considerable size, looking like a weathervane attached to the pinnacle of a barn.

The second way he is characterized is by personality. We know that he is superstitious, and that he believes in ghosts, witchcraft, and other spectral arts. We are told he is a fair disciplinarian in his classroom where he teaches, and that he is a "huge feeder," meaning he can really put away the food when eating.

He is portrayed as gentlemanly and scholarly, but at the same time, he is seen as one of the weaker characters in this story. His presence is not one that is formidable physically or situationally speaking. In fact, ladies feel most comfortable around him due to his lack of intimidating stature, among other reasons.

"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving is an American classic. Many adults had grown up with it. But the importance of Irving's work goes beyond nostalgia. This short story speaks about an early American Republic, of the unpleasantness that came with a shift from English colony to independent country.

"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" reveals something of the malaise the author felt about the bustling, industrious society that America was becoming. In the classic showdown between Ichabod Crane and Brom Bones, Irving sketched an American crossroads, a choice between the goblin-haunted, past-driven schoolteacher and the brash, up-and-coming, muscular realist—which one will win the girl?

Sleepy Hollow itself is presented as a sort of refuge from the bustling America, a haven where "romance" is still possible.
Ichabod Crane, the famous schoolteacher, functions as artist in Irving's scheme. Crane is shown in unflattering colors—as a grotesque figure, ravenous in his hunger for material success.
Yet he is also characterized as "our man of letters," as "traveling gazette" for Sleepy Hollow, which unmistakably casts him as a writer, even as an intellectual.

Ichabod, on the otherhand, is also a storyteller, but of the Cotton Mather school; i.e., of the past stories of witches and demons. This marks him as backwards-looking. Ichabod's challenge, as Irving articulates it in "Wild West" fashion, is: Can he establish himself? Marry Katrina? Defeat his rival?

Brom Bones, Ichabod's rival, has a cultural interest of his own, given the dynamics of early American culture. Rowdy, strong, brash, and fearless, Brom Bones personifies a figure who will challenge all manners and religious rigor. Bones is also the man who fights phantoms and boasts of encountering the infamous, legendary Headless Horseman.

In Irving's showdown, the two males battle it out by replaying a scene of legend. But Bones is able to best Ichabod by taking charge of the event, by scripting it so perfectly that he becomes the artist, impersonates the Horseman, substitutes a pumpkin for a head, and routs his rival. A new era is at hand, and we see the classic exchange: Ichabod Crane disappears from the scene, but the legend of his encounter with the "ghost" is born.

Irving's description of Crane as angular, awkward, and uncomfortable in his own skin echoes the man's sense of self: "His head was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weather-cock perched upon his spindle neck to tell which way the wind blew.. his clothes bagging and fluttering about him, one might have mistaken him for the genius of famine descending upon the earth, or some scarecrow eloped from a cornfield."

If you consider these physical attributes as reflections of the soul, you have all you need to know about the character of Ichabod Crane. His head was "small." In the early 1800s, a small head was indicitive of a small mind, one of the many beliefs in "phrenology," the pseudo-science of interpreting personality by examing the skull, as is the idea that his head was "flat."

Crane's "glassy eyes" indicate, properly, that he is unable to "see' clearly, both literally and symbolically. His "snipe"-like nose conveys cruelness. His neck and clothing, reminiscient of a corpse, are much like the descriptions of the dreaded Headless Horseman. Through his descriptive horrors, Irving conveys more than a ghost story: he hints, rather strongly, at a psychological abberrance; which, in part, may be attributed to the torn allegiances between the new world and the old. Ichabod Crane is a tall skinny school teacher. He is conscientious and while he loves the children he teaches, he can be very stern when it comes to their studies. He loves storytelling and often times allows his imagination to run wildly away from him. He is a daydreamer to the point of severe distraction. He loves women and he especially loves women who cook good food. Next to storytelling, food is his greatest passion. He is not a very strong man either physically or mentally and is easily goaded by Brom Bones throughout the story. He is much more sensitive and more feminine than the very masculine and burly Brom who wins the heart of Katrina, which in truth Ichabod only wanted her for her family's lush estate in the first place. This shows his selfishness and concern only for his own well being.

Lets note as well that Ichabod is an unfair teacher in many ways. He played favorites with the students and often overlooked the wrong doings of smaller, skinnier children. Here is the explanation from Irving:

He administered justice with discrimination rather than severity; taking the burden off the backs of the weak, and laying it on those of the strong. Your mere puny stripling, that winced at the least flourish of the rod, was passed by with indulgence; but the claims of justice were satisfied by inflicting a double portion on some little tough wrong-headed, broad-skirted Dutch urchin, who sulked and swelled and grew dogged and sullen beneath the birch.

It would seem that Ichabod is favoring students who look more like him and punishing those that look more like his rival, Brom Bones. "Tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that might have served for shovels, and his whole frame most loosely hung together. His head was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weather-cock, perched upon his spindle neck, to tell which way the wind blew. To see him striding along the profile of a hill on a windy day, with his clothes bagging and flutering about him, one might have mistaken him for the genius of famine descending upon the earth, or some scarecrow eloped from a cornfield."