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, featuring stereotyped characters, and teaching moral lessons. In "The Devil ad Tom Walker," Irving writes of occurrences unlikely to happen in the real word. For example, Tom meets and speaks with the devil. A large man "begrimed with soot" appears before him and admits to being "Old Scratch," a common name in New England for the devil. Irving presents the devil in a physical form and allows him to speak to Tom, something quite unheard of in everyday life. When Tom's wife disappears in the swamp after an encounter with the devil, Irving presents another unbelievable event. Upon her disappearance, Tom searches for her and the valuables she took, and he finds "nothing but a heart and a liver" in an apron suspended from the tree.The idea of the devil dismembering a human and leaving her remains proves improbable and doubtful. Irving uses outrageous incidents to elicit interest in his story. Throughout his writing, Irving uses characters that represent a single trait such as, the devil and Tom Walker. He portrays the devil as cloaked in soot as if he were in a fire.The black headed man, " neither Negro nor Indian," glared at Tom with "a pair of great red...

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