The narrator of this text describes the legend of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow and the awareness of the legend that everyone who lives there, even temporarily, seems to breathe in with the air and imbibe with the water. It is not only those native residents who have lived...
The narrator of this text describes the legend of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow and the awareness of the legend that everyone who lives there, even temporarily, seems to breathe in with the air and imbibe with the water. It is not only those native residents who have lived in Sleepy Hollow for their whole lives who become more imaginative, but all who reside there begin to see apparitions. However, he says,
I mention this peaceful spot with all possible laud; for it is in such little retired Dutch valleys . . . that population, manners, and customs, remain fixed; while the great torrent of migration and improvement, which is making such incessant changes in other parts of this restless country, sweeps by them unobserved. They are like those little nooks of still water which border a rapid stream; where we may see the straw and bubble riding quietly at anchor, or slowly revolving in their mimic harbour, undisturbed by the rush of the passing current. (emphasis mine)
Remember that a simile is a comparison of two unalike things using the word like or as. Here, the narrator compares the peaceful little Dutch valleys of New York state to small eddies of water which the currents leave undisturbed as they rush by. The "currents" of migration and advancement seem not to disturb the life in these lovely hamlets. Rather than seem stagnant, however, their fixedness seems only to make them more quaint and provincial.
When describing the odd-looking school master, Ichabod Crane, the narrator says, in part,
His head was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snip nose, so that it looked like a weathercock perched upon his spindle neck to tell which way the wind blew. (emphasis mine)
He compares Ichabod's unusually formed head and large features to a weathervane which takes the form of a rooster. This is hardly a compliment of the gangly, loose-limbed, shovel-footed man.