The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the American Identity

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Washington Irving, born in New York City on April 3, 1783 was one of the most renowned writers of the nineteenth century. Born to Scottish-English immigrants, he was given the first name “Washington”, as a result of his parents’ liking for the General George Washington, and his valiant efforts during the Revolutionary War. Growing up, Irving spent much of his time abroad, traveling across Europe, such as Germany, France, and Spain. He would later recapture his memories in his writing, which retold his coming of age. Although Irving has been to many venues and used foreign techniques in his work, he frequently wrote in relation to New York, with stories taking place from the Catskill Mountains down to the Hudson River.

The Hudson River, named after the explorer Henry Hudson extends 315 miles from the Lake Tear of the Clouds in the Adirondack Mountains, to the Upper New York Bay in New York City, where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

It serves not only as a boundary between New York and New Jersey, but also as boundaries between counties in New York State. It is located between many historic landmarks, such as Bear Mountain, the Tappan Zee Bridge, and the Erie Canal. The Hudson River was a prime contributor in the growth and development of culture in the Hudson Valley (Haynes). Many railroads were built throughout the Hudson Valley in the 19th century, and many of them were located on or near the Hudson River. Tarrytown, a small village in the town of Greenburgh in the lower Hudson Valley is located on the eastern bank of the Hudson River. It is the home to the story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving (Haynes).

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is one of the many stories found in Sketch-Book,