What is the author's purpose in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow?

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mrshh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When an author writes, they usually have a specific purpose in mind.  The purpose can be to inform, to entertain, or to persuade the reader.  In the case of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving's purpose was to entertain the reader.

We know that the author's purpose is to entertain because The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a narrative.  It tells the story of Ichabod Crane and the events leading up to his encounter with the Headless Horseman.  His flight from the Headless Horseman is then described in a narrative format.  The story contains few facts, which shows the reader that the purpose is not to inform.  The story also does not seek to persuade us of a specific message, which shows that Irving's purpose was not persuasive.

Near the end of the narrative, Irving writes that Ichabod's story is an "account of [a] ghostly adventure."  This is textual evidence which describes The Legend of Sleepy Hollow as a "ghostly adventure," proving that the purpose would be to entertain.

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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

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