April 17, 2018
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Something that really struck me in this paragraph was the imagery and description of nature. The schoolhouse is described, but it’s described in more than just the four walls. Irving describes the surroundings as well, when he says, “The schoolhouse stood…just at the foot of a woody hill, with a brook running close by, and a formidable birch-tree growing at one end of it” (Irving). It’s interesting that Irving chooses to describe the surroundings of the schoolhouse along with the schoolhouse. I don’t want to say that it’s unusual, as many stories do this, however, it does say something about where Irving wants his readers focus to be on. It’s apparent that he wants the focus of the readers to be on the nature surrounding the school house just as much as in the schoolhouse itself. Irving paints a vivid picture for his readers of the setting. The key term of nature continues on throughout the story as a prominent term.
[His appetite for the marvellous, and his powers of digesting it, were equally extraordinary; and both had been increased by his residence in this spell-bound region. No tale was too gross or monstrous for his capacious swallow.]
This passage stood out to me because it encompasses what seems to be a large portion of Ichabod’s character, not just his appetite for the supernatural. Ichabod is a greedy person, he stays with the families of the children he teaches, which could almost be forgiven considering the small amount of pay he gets from being a teacher, except he also makes money by teaching people to sing meaning he has two sources of income. His incessant need to gorge on food is another greedy aspect of Ichabod, along with his desire to possess Katrina Van Tassel and her family’s estate (which he thinks about making money off of). I can’t help but feel like the end of the story is partly a warning about the dangers of wanting too much and not being happy with what you have.
[She was withal a little of a coquette, as might be perceived even in her dress, which was a mixture of ancient and modern fashions, as most suited to set off her charms.]
Like he does here with his description of Katrina, and in many other instance between this piece and “Rip Van Winkle” I find it very interesting how Irving uses characterization and description, particularly in dress, to portray character’s leanings in ideology between the antiquated past and the contemporary. Irving uses his character descriptions to bring the topic and influence of cultural change to the forefront of his stories. It is one the many examples of Irving’s expert use of symbolism.
Throughout the whole story, there are a lot of details–giving the readers vivid images of the scenes in their heads. He describes the environments in particular situations in a way to emphasize and bring attention to certain things. Irving did an excellent job in bringing a focus to the surrounding rather than just the characters.
This paragraph has some interesting descriptions to it which happen to be describing the natives of sleepy hollow. It explains the sort of bewitched nature that the natives inhabit. They began to be more imaginative, they dreamt great dreams, and they see apparitions. Its interesting that it tells readers that the natives became natives because after they entered sleepy hollow, even if wide awake, they inhaled the bewitched air and nature of the hollow and slowly fell captive to it. These facts are important to include so that readers understand that the natives became the natives simply because they could not leave.
Hi Anne, at first I didn’t realize what Irving was saying here but once you pointed it out I found it extremely interesting. It’s interesting how they are natives considering they had to arrive there. “is unconsciously imbibed by every one who resides there for a time” are then considered the natives. The description is a little confusing at first, but once noticed is like you said interesting.
Right off the bat Irving uses great work of setting. I immediately know where I am when he mentions the Hudson. Also you can just imagine what time period we are in and what you could see, with the women at the market and the men lingering about on these days. The quiet place among the hills, with peaceful sights and soft sound, only two miles away is in nice contrast to the small market town. I think that it is a great way to start this story off.
I thought this section was interesting. I especially loved the way he described her. He described her body before anything else. He says she is, “plump as a partridge; ripe and melting and rosy-cheeked as one of her father’s peaches.” Later in this paragraph, he goes on to say, “…withal a provokingly short petticoat, to display the prettiest foot and ankle in the country round.” It is just interesting to me that in both pieces we have read from Irving, he is very descriptive in what the woman looks like, but not so much anything else about her.
[ A slanting ray lingered on the woody crests of the precipices that overhung some parts of the river, giving greater depth to the dark gray and purple of their rocky sides. A sloop was loitering in the distance, dropping slowly down with the tide, her sail hanging uselessly against the mast; and as the reflection of the sky gleamed along the still water, it seemed as if the vessel was suspended in the air.]
Right before this, there is a happier and lighter description of the nature surrounding Ichabod on his venture to Old Van Tassel’s home. Like in “Rip Van Winkle” we are presented with two different scenes of nature that represent two different things. The decriptions to follow become darker and less jolly when addressing nautre; they essentially creat that visual representation of something dark to come. For Ichabod, it will be his supernatural expereince. The darkness we are presented with is only a glimpse but sets up the dark nature that will later be described during the supernatural and frightening encounter Ichabod encounters.
It seems that Washington Irving begs the question, “did Ichabod have it coming?” From the beginning, this newcomer brings in change, the school, and commercialism, seeking the riches of the young woman’s father. This passage shows the climax of Ichabod’s end, even as he is about to perish, he thinks about losing his saddle. He has coveted riches, and Irving seems to show that this represents an enforcement of negative materialistic change on an old world. Further on in the passage, safety from the headless man is just in sight, will he make it to this church, which likely also symbolizes past times lost, or will he be the victim of self-destruction?
The loss of Ichabod may not have been because of a goblin at all, but because of his rival, who ended up with Katrina, quite a suspicious ending. While I do think that this story serves as lesson about avoiding the perils of materialistic pitfalls, the lovely prose shows that Irving has something bigger to share. I think this passage in particular demonstrates that Irving is addressing the power of fear, the ultimate lesson may be that fear is what guides humanity.
The introduction to the Headless Horseman is intriguing without giving too much information away. The reader is enlightened as to what the story will focus on but is left with still more questions in regard to the “Hessian trooper.” Irving’s use of mythology is clear in this paragraph, especially; a headless horseman is impossible and clearly the work of supernatural forces. He’s introducing the mystical but still combing it with nature. “Sleepy Hollow” is far more mythological just from the beginning than “Rip” but even this story emphasizes the grandeur of nature in a godlike way.
As others have stated in other comments, I think that the amount of detail that Irving puts into his writing is fantastic. He is able to create an almost tangible story scene into his reader’s heads and allow them to have an almost immersive experience in his story. The details that he includes are purposeful and never extend into Dickens-esque superfluity, though this paragraph and the ones that follow it are full of descriptions of the wooded areas and the road that Ichabod finds himself amidst. I think that this type of writing echoes back to the significance of detail in previous writers we have studied, namely Brockden Brown’s use of description to create an emotional and even physical response in his readers. Here, we can see the same technique occur as Irving blows a chill air through the forest he puts his readers in that makes the hairs on the backs of their necks stand straight up.
[while the great torrent of migration and improvement]
The term “torrent” here is also present in Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle,” where we saw it applied to the stream that had appeared in the ravine after Rip’s twenty-year sleep. Recall that it represented an obstacle in his efforts to return to the scene of (he thought) the preceding night. Unaware that two decades had past, Rip’s confusion and bewilderment are re-invoked here in Irving’s reference to “the great torrent of migration and improvement” that are transforming America–introducing “incessant changes” chiefly embodied in the story by Ichabod Crane and his appetite for wealth–mainly in the form of easy cash.
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April 24, 2018 at 9:44 am
See in context
April 23, 2018 at 11:55 pm
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April 23, 2018 at 4:11 pm
April 30, 2018 at 10:35 pm
In Charles Brockden Brown’s article, “The Difference between History and Romance” he writes about the novel, Wieland, and the relationship that the novel has between history and romance. He explains how history and romance are intertwined and how imperfections of man are part of our future, present, and past. In this paragraph, Clara is overtaken by her senses of this man, “I count among the most extraordinary incidents of my life”. Clara is an irrational character taken over by romantic ideas. Her history and her future are based on her emotional decisions. There is no separation between the two. Brockden Brown writes, “when busy in assigning motives to actions, are not historians but romancers.” Which relates directly to what is happening to Clara in this passage. When talking about history, it is the “noting and recording of the actions of men” which I think is very important because mankind is often if not always driven by passion and emotion. This also plays well with the strong theme of passion and emotion that is current throughout Wieland and all the characters.
Barnard, Philip, and Stephen Shapiro, editors. “The Difference Between History and Romance.” Wieland or the Transformation, with Related Texts, by Charles Brockden Brown, Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2009, pp. 195–198.
April 27, 2018 at 11:10 pm
This passage is very focused on individualism, Franklin seems to be looking at the better things in his life instead of focusing on the negative. He doesn’t dwell on the idea that he wish he lived life without committing fault instead he touches on it and shifts into how he’s basically glad with how he’s lived life. In “Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography and the Education of America.” Steven Forde presents the idea that Franklin Autobiography should be used as a model of developing good character and morals. Franklin states, “conceived the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection”, but soon realizes that he had, “undertaken a task of more difficulty than he had imagined.” Forde believes, “each of the loopholes… is deliberate”. The loopholes represent another idea, that being that when striving for greater morality the individual must also take all aspects of life in consideration and be reasonable. Forbes introduces another idea, “If Franklin had viewed virtue more strictly, he might have been forced to give up on it”.
Forde, Steven. “Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography and the Education of America.” The American Political Science Review, vol. 86, no. 2, 1992, pp. 357–368. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1964225.
April 27, 2018 at 4:40 pm
In her article “What’s Wrong With Charlotte Temple” Marion Rust addresses Charlotte’s passions as well as her inability to make decisions and relates it to her overall fall from her position in society. Rust uses this paragraph as an example of Charlotte’s indecisiveness. Here it is exemplified that Charlotte can’t even make a simple decision on her own. She has to reach out to her mentor in order to decide what to even do with something as simple as a written letter. Rust catapults off this point by claiming that Charlotte’s future will continue to be unguided and spiral downward farther than she already has. Rust bases this claim on the idea that Charlotte will not be able to support herself because she is always looking to some one outside herself to guide her through obstacles.
Rust, Marion. “What’s Wrong with ‘Charlotte Temple?”.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 60, no. 1, 2003, pp. 99–118. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3491497.
April 27, 2018 at 4:16 pm
Andrew Scheiber’s article “The Arm Lifted against Me”: Love, Terror and the Construction of Gender in “Wieland” explores Clara’s gendered role in Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland. Scheiber points to patterns of Clara’s marginalization and enclosure throughout the story, specifically in relation to her role in the context of the familial structure of the story’s plot. Scheiber explains that, “though the Age of Reason invites her to identify herself with the life of the mind, Clara is barred by her womanhood from fully achieving such an identification, since the gender ideology of the times defines the intellect as secondary rather than primary, to the essence of “feminine” nature” (Schieber 178) which is an interesting perspective considering the emphasis on reason and intellect throughout the story, and the fact that Clara is the primary protagonist of the story. Schieber claims that when Clara questions the audience, “was I not likewise transformed from rational and human into a creature of nameless and fearful attributes” (Brown 137) that she is exposing her “self-condemnation” that is born out of the gendered system that relates “rational” and “human” on the masculine side of gender axis, and the negation of those qualities to the feminine side of the axis.
Brown, Charles Brockden, Philip Barnard, and Stephen Shapiro. Wieland ; or the Transformation. An American Tale with Related Texts. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub., 2009. Print.
Scheiber, Andrew J. “‘The Arm Lifted against Me’: Love, Terror, and the Construction of Gender in ‘Wieland.’” Early American Literature, vol. 26, no. 2, 1991, pp. 173–194.
April 27, 2018 at 4:07 pm
In his article, entitled ‘Rip Van Winkle and the Generational Divide in American Culture’, scholar Robert A. Ferguson examines the character of Rip Van Winkle in depth and identifies some of the key flaws that keep this iconic figure of early American Folklore in conversation to this day. One of the flaws identified in Ferguson’s article is the issue of drink, which is brought up in the selected paragraph. Ferguson argues that Rip’s problems with being a “naturally thirsty soul” can be attributed to and explain his lack of success in life: “Habitual drinking keeps him from the steady application that every good farm requires” (533). This explanation of Rip’s tendency to ‘bum around’ aligns to the events of the story, as well as illuminating a reason why he continues to be a influential character in American literature. According to Ferguson, “We value Rip most of all because we find something of our own foibles in him, not because we worry about drink or because we fear an encounter with Heinrich Hudson when we enter the Kaatskill Mountains. Rip’s faults…are our own bad habits carried to extremes. Irving keeps to the lighter side of these extremes” (533-534). Through the relatable aspects and complexities of Rip’s character, readers throughout the years are enabled, through Irving’s lighthearted storytelling, to return to this original American folktale with as timeless a perspective as the readers who scanned the first print-warmed lines of this work.
Ferguson, Robert A. “Rip Van Winkle and the Generational Divide in American Culture.” Early American Literature, vol. 40, no. 3, 2005, pp. 529–544. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25057421.
April 27, 2018 at 3:46 pm
In “Charlotte Temple and the End of Epistolarity” by Blythe Forcey, it is said that the motherly affection of the narrator is what really makes this story relatable. I found this article to be interesting because I think that it very true. I think the way that the narrator acts in a motherly way really helps the story along. Forcey states, “Early American readers were able, as they read this novel, to live through a nightmare of dislocation, alienation, and abandonment that mapped their worst fears. But, guided by the careful and caring narrative of Mrs. Rowson, they emerged safe and unscathed, with all troubling ambiguities and terrors temporarily put to rest” (227-228). I think this is a very important quote because it makes you, as the reader, realize just how good of an author Susana Rowson truly was. To be able to make her readers feel safe even during a scary time, all due to the way this story is narrated. Forcey also states, “The motherly character of Rowson’s narrative voice is evident from her first addresses to the reader… Thus she offers, quite explicitly, to stand in for those ‘natural friends’ that the reader might have lost and to protect them from the horrors of the world” (228). I think this is a very important statement as well. Forcey makes it clear that even from the very first sentence of this story, Susana Rowson manages to take our hand and make us feel safe.
Forcey, Blythe. “Charlotte Temple and the End of Epistolarity.” American Literature, vol. 63, no. 2, 1991, pp. 225–241. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2927163.
April 27, 2018 at 3:45 pm
I also really loved this line. The Earth is the beginning and the end of the cycle of life, and that gets so overlooked in our day to day struggles. Nature and death are like you said, both important parts of the cycle of life. The connection being made in these two lines applies to most of what we have studied through the semester in this class. Even the puritans had themes of nature as a part of their beliefs. Nature and death are the two things that connect humanity because no human on Earth can avoid either one of these things. We will all die and become a part of nature once more, because that is how we began the cycle.
April 27, 2018 at 3:12 pm
Within this passage, we witness the first instance of Charlotte beginning to distrust her own instincts. While at the party she was led to believe would be fun and entertaining, she realizes that being obedient and staying home would have been better than sneaking out with La Rue. As the story progresses we see Charlotte trust those instincts less and, according to Marion Rust’s article “What’s Wrong with ‘Charlotte Temple'”, her behavior becomes increasingly described as some “form of collapse, in which her future direction is determined by nothing more deliberate than her center of gravity.” This continual falling down that Charlotte experiences effectively acts to demonstrate Rowson’s commentary on the unreliability of young women’s own moral character and how they are insufficiently able to stand up to the force of external moral corruption.
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Rust, Marion. “What’s Wrong with ‘Charlotte Temple?”.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 60, no. 1, 2003, pp. 99–118.
April 27, 2018 at 2:25 pm
Throughout her essay, “Olaudah Equiano, Written by Himself”, Cath N. Davidson expresses the aspects which make the text so significant. She explains the strength of emotion that is brought because the narrative is told from Equiano himself. She also expresses that the non-traditional storytelling is what makes it interesting and evokes emotion throughout. Davidson ultimately points out that, “Many aspects of the text make it significant, but especially impressive is it expansive reach” (19). His story is told in many parts of the world and allows readers to feel this narrative from place to place based on his narrating abilities. For example, Equiano himself states “in the preceding chapter I have set before the reader a few of those many instances of oppression, extortion, and cruelty, which I have been a witness to in the West Indies”. As readers have been taken from place to place Equiano stops to show the places he’s been and the things he’s seen. Davidson also points out the emotion-evoking tones and voice used by Equiano. Addressing the many aspects of the text Davidson writes, The text combines (in unequal parts) slave narrative, sea yarn, military adventure, ethnographic reportage, historical fiction, travelogue, picaresque saga, sentimental novel, allegory, tall tale, pastoral origins myth, gothic romance, conversion tale, and abolitionist tract, with different features coming to the fore at different times, and the mood vacillating accordingly” (20). His slave trade journey was terrible and cruel; as readers see Equiano journey from place to place they empathize with him more and begin to realize the terrible conditions in which he was under. The narrative of Equiano become more and more effective for readers because of the places Equiano takes us and the voice he uses to evoke that emotion out of readers.
Davidson, Cathy N. “Olaudah Equiano, Written by Himself.” NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, vol. 40, no. 1/2, 2006, pp. 18–51. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/40267683.
April 27, 2018 at 1:26 pm
According to William Pencak, author of “Benjamin Franklin’s Biography, Cotton Mather, and a Puritan God,” in this paragraph, Franklin is defending the stakes on which he wrote his autobiography, as well as defending his own morality. Franklin was very dedicated to his moral standing with himself and God and went through extreme measures to ensure that he would end up on the ‘right’ side of things. This particular passage is about the ‘justification of his book’ which ‘illustrates an important philosophical point: the need for ideal principles, realized in practice, to subdue “Natural Inclination,” as well as the bad effects of, “Custom and Company” (Pencak 8). The ‘artifice’ that Franklin describes represents the civilization of people that he is surrounded by and he believes that they should be informed of his knowledge, life, and commitment to God. Franklin didn’t believe that being religious meant attending church, donating to pastors, or things alike. It was about believing in God, Praying honestly, and being virtuous. Throughout this autobiography, Franklin defends and justifies his beliefs and morality.
Pencak, William. “BENJAMIN FRANKLIN’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY, COTTON MATHER, AND A PURITAN GOD.” Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, vol. 53, no. 1, 1986, pp. 1–25. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/27773087.
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