What are the similes, hyperbole, and personification used in "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"?

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edcon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Simile: The narrator characterizes all the small Dutch settlements scattered throughout the Hudson Valley as "like those little nooks of still water which border a rapid stream." The low hum of the voices in Ichabod Crane's classroom are described as being "like the hum of a bee-hive."

Hyperbole: As Irving begins to describe the Hudson River Valley setting, the narrator calls the area "one of the quietest places in the whole world." There is no way for the narrator to know if this is accurate, so it is presumed to be an overstatement. The same is true of this claim: "meteors glare oftener across the valley than in any other part of the country."

Personification is found in the opening words of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" as Irving begins describing the setting: "On the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson . . . " The word bosom's denotation is that of a woman's chest. In further describing the mysterious and supernatural atmosphere of Sleepy Hollow, the narrator states that "the nightmare . . . seems to make it the favorite scene of her gambols." Nightmares are personified as female.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Personification: giving "person-like" living qualities to inanimate objects.

"as if on the wings of the wind" is personfication (This is toward the beginning of the story when the author is describing the bewitching aura of the town).  This one, too:  "And how often was he thrown into complete dismay by some rushing blast, howling among the trees..." is personification.

Simile:  a comparison made between two things using "like" or "as"

Icabod had "a long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weather-cock perched upon his spindle neck" is a simile.

Hyperbole:  an extreme exaggeration of some sort

One example is "It's raining cats and dogs."

An example from the story would be this description of Icabod Crane:

 "To see him striding along the profile of a hill on a windy day, with 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."


Good Luck!

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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

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