Study Guide

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Truth

By Washington Irving


We're not in Kansas anymore, Shmoopers. Dreams, apparitions, specters—Sleepy Hollow has them all. But here's the question: are they real? Well, that's a question the Sleepy Hollowers have some difficulty untangling—something's definitely in the water there. And as readers of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," we don't have it easy, either. Thanks to our super unreliable narrator, we have to second-guess nearly every word in the story. Is there any sincerity? What's real and what's not? And most importantly, does it matter?

Questions About Truth

  1. Do you trust the narrator? Why or why not? And if not, why do you think Irving made him so untrustworthy?
  2. Who gets to decide what truth is in "Sleepy Hollow"?
  3. How would the story change if we knew for sure that everything was fake? What if we knew it was all real?

Chew on This

Facts are totally overrated in Sleepy Hollow; these people only care about what's interesting.

The postscript tells us that it doesn't matter if something is true or not, what matters is that it's funny.