I’m a fan of Aesop’s Fables, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and the original Bugs Bunny cartoons because the stories that are being told are intended for two audiences: children and adults. That’s good quality writing when you can effectively reach two audiences with one story.
Storytelling | Two Levels
Since Washington Irving also wrote The Legend of Sleepy Hollow for both audiences, it’s interesting to see how it’s been diluted into a simple Halloween ghost story for children since its publication in 1820. But there’s much more to his story for adults |
The inclusion of Cotton Mather as Ichabod Crane’s real-life hero. Mather was a very complicated American pioneer during the 1600s in both the fields of religion and science. Today, he’s most often associated with the Salem Witch Trials.
The underground and possibly unintentional story of how women needed to marry someone of means in order to have a good life regardless of their own family’s wealth.
Alt HerStory | Premise
While the first publication of Irving’s book was in 1820, the story was set in 1790 and it took nearly 40 real years before the first colleges for women were started in America. In 1827, Oneida Institute opened in New York state under the premise of gender and racial equality.
In The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Katrina Van Tassel is the love interest of the children’s protagonist: Ichabod Crane. Her depiction as the daughter of a wealthy farmer in the real city of Tarrytown, New York, is one where she must get married in order to have a good life.
But what if she was the one who convinced Crane of the need for higher education for women so that they could be self-sufficient? That would have been a selfless act on Crane’s part since it was in his best interest to marry Van Tassel to gain access to her family’s wealth.
The notion of selflessness has been around for a long time. Arguably, it was brought into the public mainstream by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel in Germany (1770-1831) followed by Thomas Hill Green in England (1836-1882), one of Hegel’s philosophy disciples.
That’s where the story of Katrina Van Tassel | Spirit of Love picks up.
When conducting research for this story, in addition to re-reading Iriving’s book, Hegel’s Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences in Basic Outline, and Green’s Prolegomena to Ethics, I also put together a timeline that includes several key people’s life spans in America and Europe.
Since the population in America in the 1700s was estimated to be 2.5 million and England during that same time period had a population in the 6 to 10 million range, many of these key people knew each other or at least knew of each other.
Cotton Mather and Benjamin Franklin lived during the same time period and in the same area of America. They also shared similarities with regard to their study of science and religion. Did they talk or correspond?
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Benjamin Franklin also lived during the same time period. Since Franklin spent a considerable amount of time in Europe during his life, did they correspond with each other?
Which sets up the premise for a future story because I’m a fan of Benjamin Franklin since he accomplished so much during his lifetime and was a complete paradox.
As I wrote about in my Madame Curie story, passion is one of the key things to writing a good story.
This story is an excerpt from Concept, my upcoming book about the process of creating avant garde photography. To learn more about my books and classes and to receive a discount, you’re invited to subscribe to my List by clicking HERE.
Elusive Story | Katrina Van Tassel | Video | Behind the Scenes