The Sleepy Hollow Book vs. Film

TheSleepy Hollow: Book vs. Film

Overtime, old stories have seen a significant change. The presentation ofold stories in modern movies and other phenomena has changeddramatically to suit the needs of the modern society. The Legend ofSleepy Hollow by Washington Irving is no exemption. The story hasbeen re-written or presented in various forms, which is quitedifferent from the original one. One of the most notable andsignificant presentation of the story can be traced in the filmdirected by Tim Burton. The ideas of the film are similar to that ofthe short story however, there are notable differences between thetwo. Although the idea is the same for both, Tim Burton added thrilland changed some things to attract the attention of the modern dayaudience. A short story made in one sitting was adapted and made intoa two hour thriller, horror, and a mystery movie, which incorporatesthe details presented by Irving.

Thedifferences exhibited in the film and the story can be seen rightfrom the beginning. In the story, Ichabod came to the town as ateacher of a local school house. He is a character who relates wellwith the children as a teacher. The town people also love him andregard him with great admiration. He believed in ghost stories andhad wild imagination in various perspectives of life (Perkins 321).On the other hand, the film portrays his character in a verydifferent way. The film brings him to the town to investigate variouscriminal activities affecting the town. He has difficulties relatingwith the town people and was viewed as an ignorant man (Movies on).Further, in the film, he does not believe in any of the legends ofthe town. This portrayal is the main difference between the movie andthe story.

Throughoutthe story, Irving plays much focus on the superstitions and thelegend of the town. He gives much detail about the legend of thesleepy hollow. He also goes ahead to give more details about thetales and superstitions in the town. Irving seems to be describingthe town as a fairyland full of wild imaginations. However, the moviefocuses very little on the fairyland. It only points out that peopleliving there believe in witchcraft and the headless horseman (Movieson).

Theother major difference can be seen in the existence of the headlesshorseman. Irving claimed that the headless horseman was just alegend. In the movie, although it fulfills some of the ideas of theheadless horseman, it has other insinuations. The producer of thefilm identifies the enemy of the town as Katrina’s stepmother, whohad ulterior motives of inheriting the wealth of her husband. Thehorseman in the movie is also known unlike in the Irving’s storywhere readers are left wondering whether he really exists.

Finally,the ending of the original story and the movie also varies greatly.The film has a fairly tale ending, in which Ichabod gets Katrina andputs the horseman to rest. Irving, however, leaves an unclear ending.His story claims that Ichabod disappeared and no one ever saw himagain (Perkins 321). He leaves his readers with guesses as to wherethe main character may have gone at the end of the story.

Itis clearly evident that the movie and the story of the Sleepy Holloware quite different. Even though the movie borrows the ideas ofIrving’s story, major differences exists throughout the twostories. The ideas of the movie divert from the original intentionsof Irving’s story. It has added more thrill and drifted from themain focus to please the audience.


Movieson. The sleepy hollow. June 12, 2014. Web.

Perkins,George B. TheAmerican Tradition in Literature.New York: McGraw-Hill, 1990. Print.