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The Devil and Tom Walker by William Irving Essay

Assignment id 1011412
Discipline Writing
Assignment type Essay
Words 1727
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Written throughout 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 usually viewed as the vital period of American culture, since it was the central movement of the Renaissance period that transferred into a more free-feeling and artistic way of literature. American Gothic literature created its early look with William Irving, first using "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" in 1820, also carrying to "The Devil and Tom Walker" at 1824, both of which utilize a gruesome approach to set a moral ending (Matterson). Inspired by a narrator known as Geoffrey Crayon, "The Devil and Tom Walker" chooses the form of a legend or tall story as the story describes the life of a greedy money lender from the name of Tom Walker, who also sales his soul to the devil to get riches. Irving finally uses literary elements like symbolism and character development, in addition to including themes like greed and hypocrisy to set up a moral to the corrupt person's narrative. Symbolism plays a critical role during Tom Walker's tale. Set in the first to mid-18th century at the New England region, Irving employs the location's landscape as a foundation of symbolism throughout the narrative, as well as to signify the most important character. The muddy morass environment of the swamp where Tom Walker matches the devil represents his soul that, like the swamp fog, is clouded and thick with greed. The swamp regions of the New England regions were also used as a stronghold from the Native Americans against the Europeans during the Indian battles. Ironically, this same place from the story is seen as the devil's stronghold, that symbolizes the prejudice that was still prevalent in the...

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