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Magic: Ichabod Crane's mother

In the movie, the initial views of science and religion are relatively normal and stereotyped. Magic, however, departs from the usual stereotype, and that becomes clear in one of the central discussions between Ichabod and his girlfriend Katrina:


Ichabod My mother was an innocent, a child of nature, condemned, murdered by my father.
Katrina Murdered by…?
Ichabod Murdered to save her soul, murdered by a black tyrant behind a mask of righteousness. I was 7 when I lost my faith.
Katrina What do you believe in?
Ichabod Reason, cause and consequence. I should not have come to this place. Now my rational mind has been so controverted by the spiritual.
Katrina Will you take nothing from Sleepy Hollow that was worth to come here?
Ichabod No, nothing. A kiss from a lovely young woman, before she saw my face or knew my name.
Katrina Yes, without sense or reason (16: 58)


The quote reinforces previous impressions of science or “reason” and religion. But it treats magic in surprising ways, for Ichabod’s mother, a witch, a supernatural being, is here described as a “child of nature”. This means that magic is not so much related to the supernatural as to the natural dimension, hence metaphysics is subsumed into nature. We are close here to Voltaire’s “le grand tout”. Indeed, the metaphysical component of magic is threatened with disappearance, since Ichabod’s mother is killed by his puritan father in order to “save her soul”, as if religion dealt with the soul and magic with the body. Katrina, by the way, is also a witch, and her kissing of Ichabod “without sense or reason” also moves her towards magic as nature, as that which is, without the superimposition of sense or reason. So in the movie magic is nature, and so are its apparently supernatural manifestations.


daniel.candel@uah.es | ©2008 Daniel Candel Bormann