Analyze how Washington Irving short stories, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle,” uses folkloric elements (myths, legends, superstition) as a primary stylistic feature of his fiction. In particular, you might focus on how his fiction’s celebration of myth signals broader cultural anxieties about the dramatic changes taking place in America society in the 1820s. What particular social changes do his tales bemoan, and how does Irving’s tales imply that a return to mythic storytelling could help Americans orient themselves amid such traumatic change? You might, for instance, focus on how his tales can be read as a criticism of the legacy of the Enlightenment (i.e. Franklin?). You might do so, for instance, by focusing your essay on the characters of Ichabod Crane and Rip Van Winkle. But you might also focus on the fictional character of Dietrich Knickerbocker and the reasons why Irving presents his fictional tales as being “found narratives” rather than ones authored by himself.
5-6 pages double-spaced
* Must contain a thesis statement with body paragraphs that support your argument and interpretation
* Must be argumentative rather than summative
* Must incorporate a minimum of 8-10 citations (direct quotes) from the texts examined.
* Must provide documentation and a works cited page for any outside resources used other than the textbook and supplement materials
* Must provide parenthetical references (i.e. pages numbers) for all quotes
* Must use proper MLA formatting rules
* Must be submitted as a .doc or .docx file
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