“The Devil and Tom Walker” and “Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving are two very similar yet different stories. Both of these stories talk about the American Dream and how one can want it but be disappointed when one gets it. Tom and Rip both have wives that are turning points in the stories. They both nag so much that it drives them to crazy things. The imagery in these stories gives a real feel for the scenery and how it interacts with the stories. Van Winkle and Tom both get what they wanted but once they achieve it they find that it is not what they want and regret their decisions. The message in these stories is be careful who you interact with they may not be who one wants them to be.
The American Dream is to gain a great deal of wealth no matter the circumstances. Tom Walker and his wife are all about the Dream and Rip Van Winkle is wants his version of wealth to just fall into his lap. To Tom and his wife wealth is heaps and heaps of gold or money. Tom’s wife “avarice was awakened at the mention of hidden gold, and she urged her husband to comply with the black man's terms and secure what would make them wealthy for life.” (Washington Irving). She is so willing to do anything to get gold that she would even make a deal with the Devil. Tom makes the deal with the Devil and he becomes a slave trader. That is a horrific job, selling other human beings, but he still made a lot of money. Tom achieves the American Dream but not in the way he wanted to. He thought he would just obtain wealth, but he had to work for the money. To Rip Van Winkle wealth is not having your wife nagging you and getting to be happy. He leaves to the mountain so he can get away from her. He thinks he will get away from her for a while but he gets stuck sleeping for twenty years. Van Winkle achieves the Dream but he realizes that he doesn’t want the dream. In both of these stories Rip Van Winkle and Tom Walker achieve the American Dream but they realize it is not what the believed...
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