© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow


by Washington Irving

Analysis: Three-Act Plot Analysis

For a three-act plot analysis, put on your screenwriter’s hat. Moviemakers know the formula well: at the end of Act One, the main character is drawn in completely to a conflict. During Act Two, she is farthest away from her goals. At the end of Act Three, the story is resolved.

Act I

Slumbering in Paradise

Everything is all well and good in the earthly paradise of Sleepy Hollow. We meet our (not-so-heroic) protagonist, and everything seems to be going fine. At least until a girl appears. Now Ichabod has to fight for her love. By this time, we know all about our little town, so it's time to bring on the drama.

Act II

A Wild Goose Chase

And drama you will have. Turns out this lady has a strong and popular boyfriend who now wants to kill Ichabod. Then Ichabod promptly gets dumped and a ghost starts chasing him around. Gulp.


But What Does It All Mean?

Okay, drama over. We learn that Ichabod has run away and seems to be living the good life amongst not-crazy people. The popular guy gets the popular girl. Everything goes back to normal. Oh, and of course, the whole thing was made up.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...