Atmosphere In Rip Van Winkle And The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow

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Washington Irving is known as being one of the most famous American authors in history. He has created fresh and exciting stories such as “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle” that continue to captivate those who read them even today. What makes his works so exciting is the tone and mood that he creates in each of his stories. In “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” “Rip Van Winkle,” and “The Devil and Tom Walker,” Irving creates a mood of uncertainty and peculiarity. Irving uses contrasts, personification and imagery in his description of setting, and symbolism to create an atmosphere of mystery in his stories. Irving uses contrasting tones and ideas to confuse the reader and create mystery. Irving contrasts the realistic description of setting with the unearthly mystery, and tranquility with creepiness in “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. In this story Irving gives a fairly realistic description of the setting to the reader with vivid imagery and details. At the same time though, he is telling a tale that is not very realistic at all as he is talking about a “ghost” that has a “nightly quest for its head” (Irving, “Sleepy” 4). This realistic description of setting as well as other aspects in the story compels the reader to…show more content…
In the beginning of the story he says the “tapping of a woodpecker is almost the only sound that ever breaks in upon the uniform tranquility” (Irving, “Sleepy” 3). The tone of the story shifts though, as Irving starts to mention darkness numerous times in his description of setting and shifts the serene tone of the story to take a more mysterious feel as he describes goblins and “phantoms” that “walk in darkness” (Irving, “Sleepy” 12). This shifting tone creates an intriguing contrast that confuses the reader. This is a slow, but noticeable transition, which adds to the effect of mystery, as the reader is unsure of what is to come
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