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Theme Of Suspense In The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow

Decent Essays
Elements of Suspense in
Irving’s Masterpiece: “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”

“In the dark shadow of the grove… [Ichabod] beheld something huge, misshapen, black and towering...up in the gloom...some gigantic monster” and “summoning up, [from his trembling body] a show of courage...he demanded in stammering accents- ‘Who are you?’”. In the short story, the “Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, Washington Irving, tells the adventures of a schoolteacher, Ichabod Crane, in the haunted town of Sleepy Hollow. There, he pursues the local beauty, Katrina van Tassel, competing with the town’s rowdy prankster, Brom Bones. As the plot intensifies, Ichabod’s superstition eventually leads to his downfall when he is chased by the legendary ghost of the Headless Horseman in a terrifying and vivid scene after a party at Katrina’s house. The next day, Ichabod has disappeared, his fate unknown. Throughout the story, Irving creates suspense with the use of imagery to build up a frightening scene in the reader’s mind and ambiguity to make them anxious as they feel a sense of mysteriousness as to what really happened. To begin with, Washington Irving uses imagery to clearly illustrate the story’s development, immersing the reader into what is happening and causing them to feel suspense as they walk through various events together with Ichabod. For example, as Ichabod returns home from the party, Irving portrays his horrifying surroundings, describing Ichabod as a solitary figure in the “dead hush of
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