In the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, what does the setting tell us about the distribution of power and wealth?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The setting tells much about the distribution of power and wealth.  Initially, it should be noted that Crane is not wealthy himself.  He is a teacher and although he is educated ("[Crane has] read several books quite through,"], the social values of ''one of the quietest places in the whole world,’’ in a ‘‘remote period of American history," does not place an economic priority on its teachers.  Crane has to go from house to house, doing chores and essentially serving as entertainment.  Crane does not possess the wealth to remain independently wealthy.  

In fact, the distribution of power and wealth has kept a man like Crane outside of it.  For this reason, he covets Katrina.  There is not any indication of real and sincere love for Katrina.  Crane wants to marry Katrina because of her father's wealth and the life he could lead in marrying into the family.  Crane's coveting of this wealth helps to indicate that he is on the outside of the power and wealth distribution scale in the town.  Crane is shown as a man of ideas and letters, but one who is on the periphery of economic power and wealth in the town.  His desire to move from an "outsider" to an "insider" is what causes him to leave Katrina's home dejected that fateful night when he encounters his adversary.  Essentially, the social and economic power structure of the town, along with the smashed pumpkin, remains while Crane does not.

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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

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