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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

by Washington Irving

Analysis: Tough-o-Meter

We've got your back. With the Tough-O-Meter, you'll know whether to bring extra layers or Swiss army knives as you summit the literary mountain. (10 = Toughest)

(7) Snow Line

This is a short story, and short = easy, right? Sorry to burst your bubble, but that's not the case here. When it comes to "Sleepy Hollow," you just might get tripped up slogging your way through Irving's flowery prose and 19th-century vocabulary. Seriously, what is a ferule? And how do these sentences keep going for a whole page?

We're not talking about a Shakespeare level, what-on-earth-is-going-on-in-this-whole-section sort of confusion. And we're not talking about a Ulysses style why-don't-you-believe-in-periods-Joyce craziness. Still, it's not an easy ride.

But hey, it's fun. Part of the charm of reading Gothic literature is all the dense description that really makes you feel like you're sitting in a damp, dark mansion with your pet crow and a candlestick at your side. Irving spills a lot of ink on these descriptions, and believe us—you'll be glad you stuck around for the ride.

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