Washington Irving, in writing "The Devil and Tom Walker", and Stephen Vincent Benet, in writing "The Devil and Daniel Webster" illustrate to the reader the consequences of man's desire for material wealth and how a person's motivation for a relationship with the devil affects the outcome of the "deal". In these two different, yet surprisingly similar narratives, the authors present their beliefs about human intent and motive.
In "The Devil and Tom Walker", the story is seen of a stingy man and his nagging wife who "...were so miserly that they even conspired to cheat each other" (128). In the story, one sees a man make a deal with the devil, who in the story is known as "Old Scratch", for the sole purpose of personal gain. Tom Walker, seeing only the possible wealth that he could achieve, bargains with the devil and finally reaches an agreement which he sees to be fair. Tom does not see the danger present in bargaining with such a powerful force for so little gain. There is a note of humor present in the narrative, which adds to the sense of danger that is present making deals that one does not intend to keep. Commenting on the story, Larry L. Stevens notes that "This tale,..., comically presents the results of valuing the dollar above all else." This story does a very good job of conveying a message to the reader about human values.
In the story Tom is seen as a very self-centered man who cares only for himself and his own well being. He is not even phased when he discovers the remains of his wife hanging in a apron in a tree; "Tom consoled himself for the loss of his property with the loss of his wife" (132). Tom is portrayed in ...
... middle of paper ...
...Daniel Webster". in Adventures in American Literature. Ed. Fannie Safier et al. Athena Edition. Austin: Holt, 1996. 635-643.
Discovering Authors. Macintosh. CD-ROM. Detroit: Gale Research, 1993.
Irving, Washington. "The Devil and Tom Walker". in Adventures in American Literature. Ed. Fannie Safier et al. Athena Edition. Austin: Holt, 1996. 128-135.
Masterplots II: Short Story Series. Ed. Frank N. Magill. Vol. 2. Pasadena: Salem Press, 1989.
Peck, David. Masterplots II: Short Story Series. Ed. Frank N. Magill. Vol. 2. Pasadena: Salem Press, 1989. 575-578.
Stewart, Larry L. Masterplots II: Short Story Series. Ed. Frank N. Magill. Vol. 2. Pasadena: Salem Press, 1989. 579-581.
Wagenknecht, Edward. "Washington Irving: Moderation Displayed". Oxford UP. 1962. 233. in Discovering Authors.
Macintosh. CD-ROM. Detroit: Gale Research, 1993. 3.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Good and Evil in The Devil and Tom Walker The concept of evil in the short story "The Devil and Tom Walker" can be shown in many ways, by Irvings' symbolism. In the short story, Tom Walker symbolizes all of mankind by portraying him as being "sinful" and evil. When there is an intent to destroy, then we get a different level of hatred. We see that good vs. evil has been a theme that is ubiquitous in many writings. The story "The Devil and Tom Walker" is a story about a man who lives an immoral life of greed.... [tags: The Devil and Tom Walker]
366 words (1 pages)
- The Devil And Tom Walker, by Washington Irving Washington Irving the author of The Devil and Tom Walker uses the setting of the story to convey that things with a good appearance can be deceiving and be putrid on the inside. He also creates the right atmosphere for the story, and gives precise details to the audience so they can predict the topic and how it will develop. In addition, he describes each character in a manner that the readers can infer who they are, their personal characteristics, and the decisions that they might make throughout the development of the story.... [tags: The Devil And Tom Walker]
777 words (2.2 pages)
- A Faustian legend is a story in which a character trades something of great personal value to the devil in order to receive personal gain. Since this type of literature originated in the Fourth Century it has spread throughout the world. Two relatively recent versions of this legend are “The Devil and Tom Walker” by Washington Irving and “The Devil and Daniel Webster” by Vincent Benét. These stories show many similarities as well as a few differences. While both Benét and Irving present similar themes in setting of the tales and motivation in the Faustian character, they do differ in the nature of that character and their visual presentation of the Devil.... [tags: Literature Analysis]
929 words (2.7 pages)
- Washington Irving’s “The Devil and Tom Walker” includes great examples of Romanticism, such as symbols in nature having links to the supernatural, the importance of the inner nature, and the emphasis of the individual. In the story, Tom Walker is a selfish man who cares more about money than he does about anyone else, including his wife. One day, while he is walking through the woods, Tom Walker comes across the Devil, who makes a deal with him to exchange his soul for the treasure that is buried in those woods.... [tags: Washington Irving, story and character analysis]
617 words (1.8 pages)
- When one conceals their real character with a false appearance of virtue or goodness, they are exemplifying the characteristics of a hypocrite. Hypocrisy, particularly religious hypocrisy, is present in Washington Irving’s short story “The Devil and Tom Walker” and is weaved throughout Nathaniel Hawthorne’s respective short stories “Young Goodman Brown” and “The Minister’s Black Veil.” In these stories, both authors illustrate how the perceived religious attitudes and actions of different characters are merely superficial, and that beneath the surface lies their true, often wicked, nature.... [tags: Young Goodman Brown, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
964 words (2.8 pages)
- Written during the American Romanticism period, “The Devil and Tom Walker,” by William Irving, personifies the belief in the primacy of imagination. The period of Romanticism in America is often seen as the crucial period of American culture, as it was the central movement of the Renaissance period that moved into a more free-feeling and artistic approach to literature. American Gothic literature made its early appearance with William Irving, first with “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” in 1820, and carrying over to “The Devil and Tom Walker” in 1824, both of which use a macabre approach to establish a moral ending (Matterson).... [tags: american romanticism, imagination]
1631 words (4.7 pages)
- Can you imagine yourself locked up in a room with no doors. Similar to a room with no doors, there is no way out of hell if it was one's destiny. In the short story "The Devil & Tom Walker" by Washington Irving, the main character's fate is hell because of his wrong decisions in life, accepting a deal with the devil for earthly benefits. Irving reinforces his message about not making decisions that may damn your soul with the use of literary elements and figurative language. Wisely, Irving combines characterization, mood and point of view to perpetuate the theme of the story in the reader's mind.... [tags: washington irving]
858 words (2.5 pages)
- Introduction The story I had read was the Devil and Daniel Webster it was written by Stephen Vincent Ben’et. This story is a lot alike most of his other stories discussing what it means to be an American. Also this story is one of his most famous stories it combines folk-lore and history also it has been made into a play and so to be coming out a movie. Story Summary In this story it begins speaking about a character named Daniel Webster, which was from Marshfield, but, later the story begins to unravel and they begin speaking about a character named Jabez stone.... [tags: essays research papers fc]
1246 words (3.6 pages)
- The Devil and Daniel Webster Movie In the movie and the short story, "The Devil and Daniel Webster", written by Stephen Vincent Benet, there is illustrated the battle between the forces of good and evil. Although the story allows the reader to mentally picture the scenes and the movie does the depicting for the viewer, there are several similarities in each script. Some of these similarities are the way the characters are depicted and the final scene. There are several incongruous scenes between the short story and the way the movie unfolds.... [tags: essays research papers]
944 words (2.7 pages)
- The Devil’s Role in Paradise Lost, The Bible, Faust, and The Devil and Tom Walker The devil's role as the inspiration for rock-and-roll is already well documented and commonly understood. Perhaps less well documented is the role of the Devil as inspiration for literature. The Devil has played an active role in literature for quite a while with his name appearing in stories for centuries. The historical devil has not always been personified. Initially, in religious settings, he was represented as a feeling or power, in attendance as the force of evil, an antagonist to goodness and divinity, and temptation for humans.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
3098 words (8.9 pages)