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Describe Ichabod Crane from "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."

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ngtbinhminh | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted November 28, 2007 at 5:12 AM via web

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Describe Ichabod Crane from "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted November 28, 2007 at 6:14 AM (Answer #1)

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Crane is described as tall and thin, awkward and clumsy, and with a voracious appetite. He has large feet, long arms, and is overall a comical figure to see.  Washington Irving describes Ichabod Crane in great detail, and perhaps re-reading the first portion of the book where he is described would help you find all the details.  In addition, you can check out the links below for more information.

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted November 28, 2007 at 8:42 AM (Answer #2)

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Irving's description of Crane as angular, awkward, and uncomfortable in his own skin echoes the man's sense of self:   "His head was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weather-cock perched upon his spindle neck to tell which way the wind blew.. his clothes bagging and fluttering about him, one might have mistaken him for the genius of famine descending upon the earth, or some scarecrow eloped from a cornfield."

If you consider these physical attributes as reflections of the soul, you have all you need to know about the character of Ichabod Crane.  His head was "small."  In the early 1800s,  a small head was indicitive of a small mind, one of the many beliefs in "phrenology," the pseudo-science of interpreting personality by examing the skull, as is the idea that his head was "flat." 

Crane's "glassy eyes" indicate, properly, that he is unable to "see' clearly, both literally and symbolically.  His "snipe"-like nose conveys cruelness.  His neck and clothing, reminiscient of a corpse, are much like the descriptions of the dreaded Headless Horseman.  Through his descriptive horrors, Irving conveys more than a ghost story:  he hints, rather strongly, at a psychological abberrance; which, in part, may be attributed to the torn allegiances between the new world and the old. 

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted February 26, 2008 at 12:02 AM (Answer #1)

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Ichabod Crane is a tall skinny school teacher. He is conscientious and while he loves the children he teaches, he can be very stern when it comes to their studies. He loves storytelling and often times allows his imagination to run wildly away from him. He is a daydreamer to the point of severe distraction. He loves women and he especially loves women who cook good food. Next to storytelling, food is his greatest passion. He is not a very strong man either physically or mentally and is easily goaded by Brom Bones throughout the story. He is much more sensitive and more feminine than the very masculine and burly Brom who wins the heart of Katrina, which in truth Ichabod only wanted her for her family's lush estate in the first place. This shows his selfishness and concern only for his own well being.

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 26, 2008 at 3:57 AM (Answer #2)

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Lets note as well that Ichabod is an unfair teacher in many ways.  He played favorites with the students and often overlooked the wrong doings of smaller, skinnier children.  Here is the explanation from Irving:

He administered justice with discrimination rather than severity; taking the burden off the backs of the weak, and laying it on those of the strong. Your mere puny stripling, that winced at the least flourish of the rod, was passed by with indulgence; but the claims of justice were satisfied by inflicting a double portion on some little tough wrong-headed, broad-skirted Dutch urchin, who sulked and swelled and grew dogged and sullen beneath the birch.

It would seem that Ichabod is favoring students who look more like him and punishing those that look more like his rival, Brom Bones. 

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zoebrown | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 14, 2011 at 8:34 AM (Answer #3)

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Ichabod Crane is described as:

"A native of Connecticut"

"A pioneer for the mind"

"Tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that might have served for shovels, and his whole frame most loosely hung together. His head was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weather-cock, perched upon his spindle neck, to tell which way the wind blew. To see him striding along the profile of a hill on a windy day, with his clothes bagging and flutering about him, one might have mistaken him for the genius of famine descending upon the earth, or some scarecrow eloped from a cornfield."

From The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

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