Legend or the Sleepy Hollow and the Masque of the Red Death

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Last updated: June 17, 2019

Edgar Allan Poe and Washington Irving are both enthralling writers. They both have unusual styles of writing but they are similar in some ways. The writers are comparable in the use of tone in their works. Irving‘s use of tone in his stories are typically optimistic, yet dramatic. Poe’s uses of tone in his stories are filled with horror and are also dramatic. Poe and Irving use different techniques to develop a complex meaning in their short stories. For instance, elements such as imagery, tone, and irony are placed in these stories contribute to make these stories intense.

Imagery is a way of walking a person through mental visualizations, both stories use imagery. Irving is prominent for his use of descriptive imagery; his imagery really gives a true visualization of the story. “ A pleasing land of drowsy head it was, Of dreams that wave before the half shut eye, And of gay castles in the clouds that pass, Forever flushing round the summer sky” (page 1). ” Sleepy Hollow is used to describe the real world. Poe uses imagery all over his story The Masque of the Red Death, describing the rooms, the figure and more.For example: “Now in no one of the seven apartments was there any lamp or candelabrum, amid profusion of the golden ornaments that lay scattered to and fro or depended from the roof” ( page 97). The imagery of both stories certainly gives significant clarification to the stories.

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The imagery helps develop the stories complex meaning it explains, it also visualizes and elucidates their meanings. The tone of The Masque of the Red Death and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow particularly justify how the stories are written.The tone makes the reader think about the purpose and view of the story. From beginning to end, the tone of “The Masque of the Red Death” has a portentous Gothic and dark penetrating tone throughout the whole story. Poe sets the tone right away just look at the opening lines: The “Red Death” had long devastated the country.

No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal –the redness and the horror of blood. (Page 1) “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” has different tones throughout the story.At the beginning the tone is somnolent yet peaceful, then the tone gets spooky slightly sarcastic, humorous, mocking and surreal. Irony is the use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning, the result of an action or situation, the reverse of what is expected. Irony is definitely essential in these two stories as it develops deeper levels of meaning. Both stories massively use irony. “The Masque of Red death” the whole story is practically irony; even the title foretells you there will be irony in the story.

The situational irony is the palace rooms which represent the stages of life, from the first room to the last. Prospero sets up the castle to avoid the plague and he believes he can use his wealth to defend himself against the plague. They shorty realize that they cannot avoid death by isolating themselves in a castle. In the “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” dramatic irony is used quite a few times, first, the character Ichabod Crane desires himself as smart, attractive, and talented in dancing and singing. However the reader is well aware that in fact Ichabod’s appearance is foolish.

His dancing is defined as “clattering. ” The reader knows more truth concerning Ichabod than he realizes himself. “The old country wives, however, who are the best judges of these matters, maintain to this day that Ichabod was spirited away by supernatural means; and it is a favorite story often told about the neighborhood around the winter evening fire” (p.

46). The old country wives are the women Ichabod gossiped with and shared ghost or supernatural stories with. They were also the ones spreading the story that Ichabod was attacked by the Headless Horseman.This of course was not true since Ichabod was scared by a prank-working Brom Bones. This is additionally an example of situational irony; the old wives are actually not the best judges of truth since they are enthusiastic with legends and superstitions and would rather believe tall tales than the actual truth.

The literary techniques truly make a great impact on these stories. If none of these elements were presented in these stories, the stories and meanings to the stories would not be so spectacular.


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