The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow Marxist Analysis

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Marxist Critical Approach to “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” Marxist Criticism is based on the beliefs of world renowned German philosopher Karl Marx, and it highlights the importance of conflict and social class to the foundation of society. This criticism approach focuses on the struggle between dominant and subordinate groups, and identifies this conflict as the basis of society and social change. This approach also places immense importance on material possessions as a motivator for the people of society and a motivator that drives change in the world. Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is the epitome of a Marxist text. Through its appeal to pathos and imaginative humor, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” exemplifies conflict between …show more content…
Washington Irving creates this social conflict between the characters Ichabod Crane and Katrina Van Tassel in, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Ichabod Crane, a strict school teacher and singing instructor, represents the lower-class in this short story and Katrina, daughter of a wealthy farm owner, represents the upper-class. On the surface, the text tells a story of a poor school teacher who falls madly in “love” with an upper-class beauty queen who ultimately rejects Ichabod — or so we assume. However, Irving goes much deeper than a surface level conflict between two socially unequal characters. Andrea Tinnemeyer, Department Chair, English Department at The College Preparatory School, states, “by casting Katrina as the love interest and point of contention and competition between the two characters of Crane and Bones, Irving recasts the Revolutionary War in terms of a love triangle. Katrina becomes less a fully developed character and more a symbol of the fecund land of North America over which both nations fight” (“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”). Here, Tinnemeyer discuses the “revolutionary” conflict between Ichabod and Brom, and using Katrina as a symbol of a material possession to fight over. Through this conflict, Irving exemplifies the importance of social status and society’s routine of marrying someone of …show more content…
Ichabod’s strong desire for Katrina Van Tassel did not reside in her beauty alone, but predominantly in his desire for wealth, food, and the farm Katrina’s father, Baltus Van Tassel, owned. In “Overview: Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” the writer claims, “when he (Ichabod) sets his sights on marrying Katrina Van Tassel, it is not because of any feeling he has for her, but because her father is wealthy and Crane admires the food that is always displayed in the Van Tassel home” (Milne). Throughout the text, Irving makes numerous references to Ichabod’s obsession with food. For example, when “Ichabod jogged slowly on his way, his eye, ever open to every symptom of culinary abundance, ranged with delight over the treasures of jolly autumn. On all sides he beheld vast store of apples, some hanging in oppressive opulence on the trees… beheld great fields of Indian corn, with its golden ears peeping from their leafy coverts, and holding out the promise of cakes and hasty pudding” (Irving 52-53). It becomes exceedingly evident that Ichabod Crane’s desire for Katrina lies within the materialistic nature of her farm land possession when he compares her to food he would like to devour and consume. “She was a blooming lass of fresh eighteen; plump as a partridge; ripe and melting and rosy-cheeked as one of her

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