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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow


by Washington Irving

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow The Supernatural Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Section.Paragraph)

Quote #1

A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere. Some say that the place was bewitched by a high German doctor, during the early days of the settlement; others, that an old Indian chief, the prophet or wizard of his tribe, held his powwows there before the country was discovered by Master Hendrick Hudson. (1.3)

Right away, we're told that something fishy is going down in Sleepy Hollow. Would we read the supernatural elements of the story differently if Irving didn't lay it out for us right from the get go?

Quote #2

Another of his sources of fearful pleasure was, to pass long winter evenings with the old Dutch wives, as they sat spinning by the fire, with a row of apples roasting and spluttering along the hearth, and listen to their marvellous tales of ghosts and goblins, and haunted fields, and haunted brooks, and haunted bridges, and haunted houses, and particularly of the headless horseman, or galloping Hessian of the Hollow, as they sometimes called him. (1.17)

The natural and the supernatural seem pretty cozy in "Sleepy Hollow." You know, cooking, sewing, and telling ghost stories—no biggie.

Quote #3

He would delight them equally by his anecdotes of witchcraft, and of the direful omens and portentous sights and sounds in the air, which prevailed, in the earlier times of Connecticut; and would frighten them woefully with speculations upon comets and shooting stars; and with the alarming fact that the world did absolutely turn round, and that they were half the time topsy-turvy! (1.17)

Do Ichabod's stories seem out of place to anyone? The old wives are talking about hauntings, and he comes in with (pseudo) science. Does he think they're the same thing? True, the iPhone is a magical thing, but are science and the supernatural the same thing in Sleepy Hollow?

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