Study Guide

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Warfare

By Washington Irving


Love is a battlefield. But so is the classroom. Oh, and so is the actual battlefield. War is everywhere in this story, which makes sense given that it was written not too long after the American Revolution. But we guess literal wars were too boring for Irving, because they definitely take the back seat to the battlefield of love. Throughout "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," the image of knightly combat is used to explain the difficulty of getting the girl. Although we're pretty sure Irving's knights wouldn't exactly fit in at the round table.

Questions About Warfare

  1. There's no actual warfare in "Sleepy Hollow," so what's up with all the war and knight imagery?
  2. What would this story be like if the war references were replaced with romance? Would it seem more familiar to you?
  3. Imagine "Sleepy Hollow" took place today. How might the images we know of modern warfare change the tone of the story?
  4. Is there a chivalrous knight in Sleepy Hollow? How about a terrifying dragon? (We're not talking literally here, by the way—unless we totally missed something…)

Chew on This

Telling stories about the war is a badge of honor for the older residents of Sleepy Hollow.

Love isn't about romance; it's about winning the battle. Whoever gets the girl wins.