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Monday, September 16, 2013

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: Soundtrack Edition

Track 1: The Secret Life of Daydreams, Jean-Yves Thibaudet
When trying to decide what song should open this story, I searched my I-tunes library, looking under my “chill” playlist. I knew I wanted to find a song that was relaxing and peaceful, since Sleepy Hollow is “one of the quietest places in the whole world” (Irving 19). As I began to read this story, I envisioned a valley surrounded by big, tall trees, green hills, and a stream with flowing water as the only sound nearby. “The Secret Life of Daydreams”, by Jean-Yves Thibaudet, is the closest song I could match with the image in my head. Although this song does not contain any lyrics, it is extremely soothing and calming. I wanted to find something that could almost put one to sleep, as Sleepy Hollow creates a “drowsy, dreamy influence” (20) over the land. Every time I listen to it, I picture myself walking through nature or a big field, surrounded by nothing except serenity; it exerts a dreamy influence over me, causing me to daydream or even sleep. I believe it fits the atmosphere of Sleepy Hollow perfectly, and even has the ability to leave one in a trance.

Track 2: Better Together, Jack Johnson
 The story goes on to describe how Ichabod Crane, the town’s schoolmaster and protagonist of the story, desires to court the young Katrina Van Tassel. Katrina is the only daughter of Baltus Van Tassel, a substantial Dutch farmer whom the narrator describes as “a perfect picture of a thriving, contented, liberal-hearted farmer” (26). Baltus embodies everything Ichabod desires for in life: he finds his “mouth watering” (27) about Van Tassel’s abundant farm with which he hopes to inherit and his beautiful daughter whom he wishes to make his wife. For this particular section of the story, I chose Jack Johnson’s “Better Together”, which describes a man dreaming of how much better life would be if he was with his love. In a way, Ichabod is trying to convince Katrina in a way to be with him, so that he can ultimately inherit the fortune of the farm. One line in the song says, “It's not always easy and sometimes life can be deceiving”-He knows he has competition vying for her attention, yet he still is determined to win her. He also desires to be with her for the purpose of inheriting her father’s possessions. The next line in the song is, “I'll tell you one thing, it's always better when we're together”-Ichabod is entranced by her and envisions Katrina with “a whole family of children, mounted on top of a wagon loaded with household trumpery” (27). This blissful song is a great representation of Ichabod’s “courtship” of Katrina and his dreams of owning her father’s farm one day.

Track 3: Radioactive, Imagine Dragons
One of Crane’s formidable rivals is a “burly, roaring, roistering blade” (28) named Brom Van Brunt, or Brom Bones. Radioactive, by Imagine Dragons, is the song that I first thought of when thinking of Brom Bones. The opening lines are “I’m waking up, to ash and dust, I wipe my brow and sweat my rust”, which I believe fit the description of Brom Bones. He has a “Herculean frame and great powers of limb” (28), and when you listen to this song, I picture a “macho” person fitting to the rhythm/beat. Listen to this song and picture Bones coming out on his horse, fits. 

Track 4: Lover to Lover, Florence and the Machine
After attending Van Tassel’s harvest banquet, Ichabod hopes to win Katrina’s hand in marriage, but fails. He leaves and rides home “heavy-hearted and crest-fallen” (39), and sets off into the woods. Florence and the Machine’s song, Lover to Lover, reminds me of this scene as it says, “I've been losing sleep, I've been keeping myself awake, I've been wandering the streets, For days and days and days”. In the same way, Ichabod is distraught as he travels back toward Tarry Town, upset about the events that just took place and potentially changed his future. The narrator even says, “the hour was as dismal as himself” (39). This song is somewhat eerie, adding to the mystery of what is about to happen to Ichabod as he progresses further into the forest.

Track 5: Leave My Body, Florence and the Machine
In the final scene of the story, Ichabod encounters a strange figure in the dark woods, who appears “to be a horseman of large dimensions, and mounted on a black horse of powerful frame” (41). This scene was very eerie, adding much anticipation. I chose another Florence and the Machine song, Leave My Body, because it is also extremely frightening and disturbing, adding to the intensity of the scene: “I’m gonna leave my body, I’m gonna lose my mind, and don’t need the day, don’t need the night”. The song builds in the same way the story builds on Ichabod’s escape. After seeing that the “ghost” is the headless horseman, Ichabod dashes away, “through thick and thin; stones flying, and sparks flashing at every bound” (41). Panic fills his blood and he tries to escape, only to be taken down by the head of the headless horseman. It is the perfect song for the climax of this story!

Irving, Washington. "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." American Gothic Tales. Ed. Joyce Carol Oates. New York: The Penguin Group. 19-44. Print. 

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