Friday, October 18, 2013

Book Club! The Legend of Sleepy Hollow





For our activity, we combined Day of the Dead skull decoration with the Headless Horseman theme; no cultural connection, but an anatomy-based one!  OK, that was admittedly a stretch (albeit a fun one), but our discussion was rich.  Some of the kids liked the book, others (mine) didn't; moms were mostly in the same category as our girls.  We discussed setting, protagonist and antagonist, point of view, plot, character traits, and climax, all with the intent of discerning Washington Irving's message. 

I honestly had no clue when we began our discussion, for I had meant to do an internet search for clues through other's interpretations and so lead the discussion, but had run out of time.  And I didn't like the story - it is told from the point of view of a character I couldn't much like with no depth to the other characters.  And I didn't particularly like the writing - as beautiful as the elaborate descriptions are, they distracted from the plot (in my humble opinion) so much that I found them irritating.  So what WAS the point of this book?

What I didn't get, the kids did.  Our second-to-youngest participant latched right onto it, saying, "in life, sometime we are afraid of things that aren't real, when really there are real things that we should be afraid of."  Yes!  That insight led us to the conclusion that the main character was pursuing a fantasy though the preliminary parts of the book and just as he is hit with that reality, he is also confronted by a real fantasy in the form of a bully disguised as a phantom horseman.  That dual experience caused his flight from both fantasies and caused him to recreate a more authentic life for himself elsewhere.  Cool, rich discussion, thanks to the minds of most brilliant kids.

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