Ichabod is constantly reading scary stories, telling them to others, and listening to people's tales. But once he's on his own in the dark, he isliterally afraid of his own footsteps. Ichabod is also afraid of people. He doesn't want to cause any trouble, so he'll do anything his landlords tell him to do.Even though he acts meek and mild, we know that he secretly hates all of these people. For example, when Ichabod thinks Katrina likes him, he's mostly psyched about the status it will bring him. In other words, he can't wait until he's rich and can stick it to everyone who's ever been mean to him. Without that power, though, Ichabod just smiles and nods. Ichabod is a pretty feminine guy—he gossips, he babysits, and he rocks cradles—sets off some red flags.
These lady-like, not-so-studly descriptions just add to the anti-hero feel of the whole story.
As cowardly as he can be, Ichabod sure has a temper. At school, Ichabod whips his students and rules over them like a cruel tyrant. Ichabod's mad with desire for wealth, power, and status. After all, the only reason he wants to marry Katrina is so he can strike it rich. We'd probably be able to forgive Ichabod if he just wanted to have enough food to eat or, say, a non-broken mirror to use. But no, he wants to be filthy stinkin' rich. Ichabod is the most gluttonous of all literary gluttons. He even beatsAugustus Gloop. Our narrator continually makes references to Ichabod's literal and metaphorical appetite—oh, and his huge mouth. Ichabod doesn'tseem lazy. He teaches during the week, leads choir on the weekends, and does housework for his landlords. That's a lot of stuff to fit in between his dates with the old Dutch ladies. But here's the thing: hehas to do all this—it's how Ichabod makes his meager living and stays out of trouble. Ichabod wants Baltus's wealth and he plans to get it by marrying his daughter. If Ichabod were just greedy, he could find any other way to get rich. But Ichabod specifically wants what Baltus has.
Irving introduces the tall, lanky schoolmaster Ichabod Crane as a figure of mild derision, a hard-nosed itinerant Yankee from Connecticut who takes himself too seriously and possesses an enormous appetite despite his slight build.
Crane is described as “an odd mixture of small shrewdness and simple credulity.” He quickly discovers Katrina Van Tassel, the lovely daughter of a well-to-do Dutch farmer, Baltus Van Tassel, and resolves to win her heart. His principal rival, Brom Van Brunt, nicknamed Brom Bones, is a burly outdoorsman, strong and somewhat arrogant but with a well-developed sense of humor. Realizing that he cannot best Bones in feats of physical prowess, Crane sets out to woo Katrina by making regular visits to the Van Tassel farmhouse as a singing-master. Over time the competition between Crane and Bones intensifies.
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