This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Literary Analysis: The Devil & Tom Walker

1042 words - 4 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.
The author continuously characterizes Tom in a way that makes the readers deride him and not want to follow the example of his like. For example, after Tom's wife takes all their valuables and tries to strike a bargain with the devil as Tom won't do it himself, Tom goes looking for her. The reader sees that he doesn't really care about her as much as he cares about the valuables: "He leaped with joy; for he recognized his wife's apron, and supposed it to contain the household valuables"(263). That shows that he is really greedy and ruthless; no one wants to follow someone portrayed like that. Furthermore, Tom had evidence that his wife was fighting with the devil when she tried to strike that bargain. The passage that provides his reaction has a satirical tone: "He shrugged his shoulders, and he looked at the signs of a fierce clapper clawing."Egad," said he to himself, "Old scratch must have had a tough time if it!" Tom consoled himself for the loss of his property, with the loss of his wife"(264). Contrasting words like fierce and prowess, which are serious words, with words like clapper clawing, egad and old scratch, Irving highlights the sarcasm in the passage. The satirical tone shows that he doesn't take things seriously and he didn't think that a similar fate could happen to him, too. Someone so ruthless is not a good role model to copy, and the message shines through because of the tone, or the author's attitude towards a character or a subject. In addition, when Mr.Walker becomes rich because of the usury he commits, he still has the miserly quality in him: "He built himself, as usual, a vast house, out of ostentation; but left the greater part of it unfinished and un furnished, out of parsimony"(266). The passage infers indirectly that he only think of looks and not inner contents, making him despised in the reader's eyes. Someone who only cares about appearances doesn't balance between worldly life and spiritual life. So Tom is his own antagonist and people would not probably mimic an antagonist in a story.
The antagonist in the story is described with a lonely mood. The mood allows the reader to interject himself in the story. With word choice, imagery and tone, the writer develops a sad mood. For example, When Irving describes Tom's house: "They lived in a forlorn looking house, that stood alone and had an air of starvation. A few...

Find Another Essay On Literary Analysis: The Devil & Tom Walker

Intent and Motive in The Devil and Tom Walker and The Devil and Daniel Webster

1583 words - 6 pages Intent and Motive in The Devil and Tom Walker and The Devil and Daniel Webster      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

Washington Irving, comparing "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and !The Devil and Tom Walker"

659 words - 3 pages invented ice drinks and the dumb waiter. Irving was also an entrepreneur. 'Early in his life Irving planned to follow his father's footsteps in the family business.' (p. 187)Irving had many writings in his literary career. His works include The Sketchbook, A History of New York, The Devil and Tom Walker, and Rip Van Winkle. Despite all of these well known works, Irving never won any awards. Irving's short stories are The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and

The Devil and Tom Walker versus The Masque of the Red Death

965 words - 4 pages Both The Devil and Tom Walker by Washington Irving and The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe were borne of the Romanticism era of literature. The Devil and Tom Walker is about the eponymous Tom Walker selling his soul to the devil in exchange for riches. It was inspired by the legend of Faust, a man who also sold his soul and paid a dire price as a result. In The Masque of the Red Death, a story purportedly inspired by the tuberculosis

"The Devil and Tom Walker" and "The Devel and Daniel Webster" - Two Modern Faustian Legends

971 words - 4 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

The Devil And Tom Walker" By Washington Irving, And "The Man In The Black Suit" By Stephen King Comparison

781 words - 4 pages The Devil has been the subject of many stories, always represented as an evil being, a cursed creature that preys on the souls of humans. He is described in many different ways, just like the many forms he takes in many stories. Two famous stories that deal with this fearsome creature are "The Devil and Tom Walker" by Washington Irving, and "The Man in the Black Suit" by Stephen King. Both suggest that the Devil always pursue the human

Literary Analysis of The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw

640 words - 3 pages Literary Analysis of The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw "They came of age during the Great Depression and the Second World War and went on to build modern America; men and women whose everyday lives of duty, honor, achievement, and courage made our nation the greatest on earth." This quote is fittingly descriptive of the achievements and importance the post World War II generation had on us. In Tom Brokaw's Book, The Greatest

All Society in One Man: Character Analysis of Washington Irving’s Tom Walker Character

889 words - 4 pages Washington Irving has been considered to be the foremost American author of the early romantic era. As such, the majority of his works contain elements consistent with Romantic ideals, including his short story The Devil and Tom Walker. Through literary elements such as diction, imagery, tone, syntax, and figurative language, Irving portrays Tom Walker in a negative light. In a larger sense however, Irving’s use of these literary elements goes

Literary Analysis of Everyday Use by Alice Walker - WRT 101 - Analysis

4814 words - 20 pages research to analyze and discuss these all literary characteristics, thus we shed light on the main points and reveal the important issues which are significant to be mentioned. Biography Alice walker was born in Eatonton, Georgia on February 9, 1944, the youngest of eight children of Minnie and Willie Lee Walker, black sharecroppers (Paul Lauter: 1994: 2510). She spent a childhood even more limited than her family's rural poverty dictated, for

The Odyssey Literary Analysis

1419 words - 6 pages “The Odyssey” is an epic poem that tells the story of Odysseus and the story of his many travels and adventures. The Odyssey tells the main character’s tale of his journey home to the island of Ithaca after spending ten years fighting in the Trojan War, and his adventures when he returns home and he is reunited with his family and close friends. This literary analysis will examine the story and its characters, relationships, major events

Analysis of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

4168 words - 17 pages draws readers' attention and causes them to think about. That is the reason I come to the decision to choose this theme for my study. I hope my small study on analyzing the character in the literature work will be helpful for me in enjoying and perceiving literature. In my writing, I only have the wish to talk about the character Tom Sawyer and his characteristic through "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." Chapter I. Literary theory I.1. What

Literary Analysis: The Color Purple

1468 words - 6 pages , along with the letters and the word “Amen”, Walker uses sewing and quilts as a symbol of independence and creativity, a theme upon which the plot is founded. Celie opens up her own business, Folkspants Unlimited, and is therefore able to sustain herself both economically and financially. She no longer has to depend on anyone else for support. According to literary critic Margaret McFadden, “For male or female, her [Celie’s] pants become the

Similar Essays

The Devil And Tom Walker Essay

619 words - 2 pages Common people in all parts of the world hand down folk tales about their particular culture, and during the nineteenth century in Europe, the popularity of these tales increases. Because Washington Irving lives and travels in Europe during this time period, he reads many of these tales, and his interest in rewriting them grows. One of his tales, "The Devil and Tom Walker," meets the criteria of a folk tale by portraying unrealistic events

The Devil And Tom Walker And Romanticism

778 words - 4 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

Washington Irving's The Devil And Tom Walker

1086 words - 4 pages Cited Bernier, Lee. "Killing time without injuring eternity." : An Analysis of The Devil and Tom Walker by Washington Irving. Blogspot, n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2014. .

The Devil And Tom Walker: Causes Of Economic Depression

596 words - 3 pages “The Devil and Tom Walker”: Causes of Economic Depression In “The Devil and Tom Walker”, Irving reveals many aspects of the humanity especially how economic depression plays in the society. Some may disregard what really happens throughout the world because they ponder that the situation is “inapplicable” to their lives. Others are able to determine the problems of it but the Media/News Organizations seem to be more anxious about the