What is an example of allusion in "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow?" 

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The narrator mentions that the town of Sleepy Hollow is quiet and it seems to be isolated, not affected by the developments in the rest of the country. It paints a picture of Sleepy Hollow as a town by itself, almost as if it is in another world. This helps to establish its own culture and the narrator adds that the town's inhabitants are superstitious: 

The whole neighborhood abounds with local tales, haunted spots, and twilight superstitions: stars shoot and meteors glare oftener across the valley than in any other part of the country, and the nightmare, with her whole nine fold, seems to make it the favorite scene of her gambols. 

Ichabod himself is interested in the supernatural. Being a well read man, he knew Cotton Mather's "history of New England Witchcraft" well. The narrator adds that Ichabod's stay in Sleepy Hollow increased his interest in the supernatural: 

His appetite for the marvellous, and his powers of digesting it, were equally extraordinary; and both had been increased by his residence in this spellbound region. 

This reference to Cotton Mather and allusion to the history of New England Witchcraft is especially fitting for this tale of a supernatural Headless Horseman. Mather became involved in the Salem Witch Trials. He believed in witches and the visions that led to accusations of witchcraft. This allusion to Mather and his interest in witches adds to the supernatural theme of the story. However, whereas Mather was an authorial accuser, Ichabod was a naive believer, a romanticist. This is one of the reasons people like him; he was interested in the "marvelous." 

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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

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