Washington Irving THE DEVIL AND TOM WALKER Washington Irving (17831859) DOB: April 3 New York World traveler—England, France, Sweden, etc. One of his most famous short stories was “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” Watch this clip from youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYHt8Sd Uj-U&feature=related The Devil and Tom Walker** Credited to Mrs. Sullivan Setting: New England in the early 1700s A narrator relates a story he has heard about a local man’s dealings with the devil. The narrator never claims that the stories are true, only that they are widely believed. According to local legend, a treasure is buried in dark grove on an inlet outside of Boston. Tom Walker** It is said that Kidd the Pirate left the treasure there under a gigantic tree and the devil himself “presided at the hiding of the money, and took it under his guardianship.” Since the pirate Kidd was hanged, no one has disturbed the treasure or challenged the devil’s right to it. Historical Viewpoints* At the time Washington Irving wrote “The Devil and Tom Walker,” in 1824, the US was a new and growing country. * Many writers published works that embodied concepts of freedom, religious piety, and independence that characterized the country. (Poe, Hawthorne, Emerson etc.)* Historical Viewpoint cont* Much of the literature of this period, like the novels of James Fennimore Cooper, were romantic tales of adventures of common men, often concluding with strong morals outlining Puritan ideals of good and evil. “The Devil and Tom Walker,” in which Tom Walker, a corrupt individual who gets his come-uppance at the hands of the devil, typifies the literature of this era. Tom Walker Set Up Setting: Town in New England; early 1700s Characters: Tom Walker: miserly man who succumbs to his own greed. Old Scratch: AKA the Devil. Tom’s Wife: Nameless hag of a woman View Ghost Rider clip Themes Greed is one of the most important themes of “The Devil and Tom Walker.” Hypocrisy is evident throughout. Moral Corruption: Though Tom Walker is presented as an individual who has always been morally corrupt, the action of “The Devil and Tom Walker” presents how moral corruption breeds more moral corruption, escalating to the greatest corruption of all, a pact with the devil. ** Look for… Examples of foreshadowing Symbolism or archetypes Irving’s point Be able to compare and contrast the Ghost Rider clip to the short story; how are Tom Walker and Johnny Blaze different? Setting: The Meeting P. 260: Old Scratch and Tom meet in an old Indian fort; swamp—helps to set the mood. Decaying (like Tom), spooky, creepy Tom finds an Indian skull with a tomahawk buried inside it—possibly foreshadows Tom’s death. Characters: Old Scratch “half-clothed”; red sash (red color implications?) Dark in color—ashy (with soot): fire imagery confirms Devil Red eyes evil Black miner, black woodsman, wild huntsman Characters: Tom Walker Miserly stingy, tight-fisted Doesn’t take care of anything; will not spend $$$$ on anything. Later, after he gets rich, he puts on appearances house looks “rich” from the outside, inside is completely falling apart. Characters: Tom’s Wife No name: What does that say about her? Miserly, more tight-fisted than Tom. Reason that Tom accepts the deal with the Devil. Her death is foreshadowed by a vulture (usually symbol of death) Why does the Devil kill her and not Tom? Devil uncovers hypocrisy. Read “The right of a prior claim…witches.” 261 How does the devil prove that Tom’s society is made up of hypocrites? Religious persecution; persecution of Native Americans Devil does not “harm” Tom simply gives him a deal that he cannot refuse—won’t refuse. Quick Activity After numbering off, 1-4, find evidence of what you think Irving’s opinion is concerning the following topics. 1: Slavery/slave trade 2. Religious hypocrites? 3. Expansion onto Native American lands? 4. Greed? Themes: Greed and Hypocrisy Greed is emphasized a great deal in the first half of the story Tom’s deal with Old Scratch, Tom’s Wife’s demise etc. Hypocrisy is emphasized in the second half of the story…mainly through Toms’ “conversion” to “Christianity.” Big Irony Tom makes his big “Well, if I ever made a single dime, have the devil come and take me now!” Irving’s final point Why do you think Irving made it so all of Tom’s possessions were destroyed…specifically with so much fire imagery?