Anaylysis of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Anaylysis of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

During the 1800’s Washington Irving was critical in American Literature’s separation from Britain. He wrote the “Sketch Book” which included stories such as “Rip Van Winkle” and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. It was the first book by an American writer to become popular outside of the United States and helped establish American writing as a respectable form of literature. In “The legend of Sleepy Hollow” Irving’s clever use of imagery and descriptive writing disguise his intent, leaving the reader to decipher the meaning of his words. His use of imagery and descriptive writing when he speaks of the town of Sleepy Hollow itself and when he speaks of food are seen repeatedly throughout “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. The story begins with the poem “Castle of Indolence” Irving emphasizes a figurative meaning in this line of the poem “gay castles in the clouds”. The literal image is of a stone building with a moat and drawbridge, however castles also conjure up images of romance and fantasy which in turn describes how he sees the town of Sleepy Hollow. Ichabod describes Sleepy Hollow as a place to escape the “real world”. When he says “If ever I should wish for a retreat whither I might steal from the world and its distractions and dream quietly away from the remnant of troubled life, I know of none more promising than this little valley”. Sleepy Hollow is seen as a place of fantasy like proportions, peaceful and serene away from the stresses of “normal” life. “A drowsy dreamy influence seems to pervade over the very atmosphere” gives the reader an even larger notion of just how slow paced and laid back the town is. There is a kind of magic that resides in Sleepy Hollow and Ichabod describes it as “enchanted”. Irving also uses gentle water imagery in his description of the town. His use of calming water scenes to describe the citizens of the town seems to indicate a certain…


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