Symbolism in The Devil and Tom Walker MS. THIELL ENGLISH III Old Scratch Old Scratch is the Devil The Devil symbolizes temptation Old Scratch Where do we see the Devil symbolizing temptation? Old Scratch “The black man told him of great sums of money buried by Kidd the pirate ... All these were under his command, and protected by his power, so that none could find them but such as propitiated his favor” (lines 128-131). The Swamp The shortcut through the swam = “shortcuts” to wealth The swamp = where the shortcuts to wealth usually lead The rotted trees in the forest = the moral decay of society The tallness of the trees = the pride of the people The Swamp Where do we see the swamp symbolizing pride, moral decay, and shortcuts? The Swamp “One day that Tom Walker had been to a distant part of the neighborhood, he took what he considered a shortcut homeward, through the swamp. Like most shortcuts, it was an ill-chosen route” (lines 38-40). “‘Look yonder, and see how Deacon Peabody is faring.’ Tom looked in the direction that the stranger pointed, and beheld one of the great trees, fair and flourishing without, but rotten at the core, and saw that it had been nearly hewn through... On the bark of the tree was scored the name of Deacon Peabody, an eminent man, who had waxed wealthy by driving shrewd bargains with the Indians. He now looked around, and found most of the tall trees marked with the name of some great man of the colony, and all more or less scored by the ax” (lines 94-102) Tom Walker Tom Walker symbolizes greed Tom Walker With a partner or alone, find one example in the text where Tom Walker is greedy. Tom Walker “Tom might have felt disposed to sell himself to the devil” (lines 53 and 54) “‘You shall open a broker’s shop in Boston next month,’ said the black man. ‘I’ll do it tomorrow, if you wish,’ said Tom Walker. ‘You shall lend money at two percent a month.’ ‘Egad, I’ll charge four!’ replied Tom Walker” (lines 232-235). The Bible The Bible buried under mortgage papers symbolizes greed and moral decay The Bible Where in the text do we see The Bible symbolizing greed and moral decay? The Bible “He had left his little Bible at the bottom of his coat pocket, and his big Bible on the desk buried under the mortgage he was about to foreclose; never was a sinner taken more unawares” (lines 321-323). Tom Walker’s House His new house (after becoming a usurer) is large and symbolizes ostentation and false appearances. He is trying to “keep up with the Joneses” Ostentation: Noun – Pretentious display meant to impress others; boastful showiness; pretentious Tom Walker’s House Where in the text do we see the symbolism of Tom Walker’s new house as ostentatious and a false appearance? Tom Walker’s House “He built himself, as usual, a vast house, out of ostentation; but left the greater part of it unfinished and unfurnished, out of parsimony. He even set up a carriage in the fullness of his vainglory, though he nearly starved the horses which drew it” (lines 270275). Tom Walker as an Usurer Tom Walker as a usurer symbolizes loan officers who trick people into bad loans, cars they can’t afford, and consumer credit cards with unreasonable terms; predatory lending institutions; corrupt credit card marketers. Tom Walker as an Usurer Where in the text do we see the symbolism of Tom Walker’s career? Tom Walker as an Usurer “At this propitious time of public distress did Tom Walker set up as usurer in Boston. His door was soon thronged by customers. The needy and adventurous, the gambling speculator, the dreaming land-jobber, the thriftless tradesman, the merchant with cracked credit; in short, everyone driven to raise money by desperate means and desperate sacrifices hurried to Tom Walker. Thus Tom was the universal friend of the needy” (lines 259264). Discussion: Do people like Tom Walker (people who take advantage of other peoples’ poor financial situation) still exist today?