In "The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving, what is the source and nature of the conflict for the protagonist?

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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It would seem that there are two problems that conflict Irving's protagonist named Ichabod Crane. The first problem is the fact that Crane allows himself to get caught up in the superstitions of the area that he moves into which is a colonial Dutch village. The second problem is that he is romantically interested in Katrina Van Tassel who has another suitor by the name of Bram Bones. The source of the first problem originates in the the areas surrounding Sleepy Hollow. Irving describes it as an enchanted place; but, the matter isn't helped any as the people relate all of the scary and spooky tales to Ichabod who then believes them because of the superstitious book that he had brought with him and continued to read. The superstitious conflict and the romantic conflict converge as Bram eggs Ichabod on at a party one night with the story of the Headless Horseman. Another incident  that follows is the fact that Katrina seems to reject Crane after the party that night. The townspeople theorize that Crane must have met with said headless horseman because his hat is found on the ground and he is never seen or heard from again. Possible mysticism, the superstitious book, and Crane's own foolery seem to be the source of his problems which are eventually resolved by rivalry and rejection.


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