December Classics Challenge

Classics

Welcome to our very last Classics post for 2016!  Yes, we realize we are one day off, but shhhh 😉 we’re going to pretend we are not.

This last month of the challenge was to read a classic written by an author who used a pen name.  We both chose to read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

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Cocktail Phoenix: For December, the last month of the year and of the 2016 classics challenge, I chose to read a classic written by Washington Irving under the pen name of Diedrich Knickerbocker, namely The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

I’ve been meaning to read this story, a fairly short one, for a while now, especially since years ago I watched the movie with Johnny Depp. Imagine my surprise upon reading this and thinking of the movie. The story being as short as it is, I was pretty sure there wouldn’t be all too much action in it, but to see that there were barely any similarities to the movie really did take me by surprise. I figured there would be at least a little more resemblance other than some of the names and the fact that there is a headless horseman.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is the kind of story I could easily imagine to be told around a warm fire, either a campfire in summer or inside under a cosy blanket in winter. The main character, Ichabod Crane, makes for a humorous main character inserted into a chilling story of suspense and mystery. And of course there’s the token open ending which leaves it open to the reader to imagine what might have happened. The author leaves the hints of how he might have thought it really ended but there’s enough room for interpretation to see the possibility of a different ending, a more mystical one.

I think I’ll go with a 3 charm rating. It was a nice story but it’s a short story, which isn’t the story’s fault of course, but it always seems like it isn’t quite enough for me. Enjoyable nonetheless!

Serenity: When I think of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, I always go back to the Disney cartoon that I watched growing up.  Knowing Disney, I was interested to see how my memory of the story connected with the actual book.  To my surprise, I found that they were very close!  Granted, I haven’t seen the cartoon in quite some time, so I may be remembering incorrectly ;).  I plan to fix that soon…

For the story itself, it is a very interesting little short story, first in that there is no dialogue at all.  It is told only through the author/narrator’s voice, which makes it a little slow in the telling for me.  I think if it had been anything other than a short story, it wouldn’t have worked.  Beyond that, I felt that it was almost more of a character study of Ichabod Crane than anything else.  Crane dominates this work with only a passing nod at the Headless Horseman who has truly become a character in his own right in the modern movies that have been done.

Overall, I didn’t really consider this a “horror” story, as it is tagged on Goodreads.  It’s more in the sense of a slightly spooky story that has the general moral to be careful not to be overly credulous.  I did like it, though, so I give it a solid 3 charms.

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Thus ends our year-long journey through the Classics!  Come back in a few days to see what our classics readers have planned for 2017!

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