The Devil and Tom Walker
"The Devil and Tom Walker" written by Washington Irving is an example of romanticism in American literature. This book was written between the late 1600’s and early 1700’s. Romanticism was an artistic movement within literature in the 19th century that promoted individuality with emotion, love and nature. Romanticism within literature stretched the hearts and feelings of characters and challenged them to change their pasts. Characters, such as Tom, his wife, and even the devil, were aware of pasts that they desired to change. Nature also plays a large role in this story. The tree that holds the treasure, the sacred forest and the mysterious swamp, each feature human characteristics. Authors who write romantic stories do not always write about romantic love, but more so a state of mind. "The Devil and Tom Walker" was written within a setting and during a time when Puritanistic beliefs, stating that a person's life should be devoted to God, changed. Suddenly the desire for money and personal gain was springing up. In the story, see the same change happen to Tom. Tom fights change at first, but he gives in to the greed that caused his wife's death. Love for greed changed his focus. Irving uses words, such as "sterility" and "famine," giving the reader a distinct visual of a love-starved Tom. In an empty, romantic spot in his mind, perhaps he wondered what would happen if he made a deal with the devil. Tom admits that he will break the promise he made with the devil. But when he starts getting religious the devil punishes him (Irving 3) Irving is trying to show people that money does not always make you happy. Much like the devil, Tom's wife had a love affair with herself and her dream was to achieve more. She was unhappy with her reality. The situation the devil presented was more than she could ignore, no matter the cost. She was so lost in her infatuation and imaginings that she moved through the story as if in a daze. Irving compared...
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