The Devil and Tom Walker is a short film based off the original short story by Washington Irving. For this reason, some critics consider “The Devil and Tom Walker” to be the “New England Faust.” However, the primary difference between the two is that while Faust craved many things, including love, Tom Walker's sole desire is wealth. The story appropriately appeared in a section called "Money-Diggers," as the tale chronicles the selfish choices of an exceptionally stingy and greedy man. The dark and humorous irony in this passage is that normally nobody would willingly wish to sell her soul to the devil, and that the only reason Tom does not go through with the deal is simply to spite his wife rather than any concerns for his own welfare. The idea behind this statement (and, perhaps, the story itself) is that ownership is an illusion. In fact, the story has resolved itself into a proverb, and is the origin of that popular saying, so prevalent throughout New England, of "The devil and Tom Walker.". Irving has Tom Walker take a shortcut to comment on cheating or seeking the quickest way to wealth—providing another example of how Tom is so greedy that he cuts corners for his own gain when others wouldn't. This American name for the devil derives from old Norse/Germanic roots of the words skratte and skraz, both of which either refer to a "wood-demon", "satyr", or a type of "goblin." Some asserted that she lost her way among the tangled mazes of the swamp, and sank into some pit or slough; others, more uncharitable, hinted that she had eloped with the household booty, and made off to some other province; while others surmised that the tempter had decoyed her into a dismal quagmire, on the top of which her hat was found lying. said Tom Walker, as he gave it a kick to shake the dirt from it. — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor Washington Irving wanted to establish a uniquely American style of literature, so he set "The Devil and Tom Walker" near Boston in the New England area. This line refers to 2 Samuel 3:38 in the Bible, where King David mourns the death of Abner. He looked up and beheld a bundle tied in a check apron and hanging in the branches of the tree, with a great vulture perched hard by, as if keeping watch upon it. While horses' shoes can make sparks when they hit the pavement, the image of fire from this action reinforces the demonic nature of the steed and the eternal hellfire and damnation Tom is going to suffer. The shortcut in the swamp symbolizes these shortcuts people try to use to get ahead in the world. Nothing remained of the old Indian fort but a few embankments, gradually sinking to the level of the surrounding earth, and already overgrown in part by oaks and other forest trees, the foliage of which formed a contrast to the dark pines and hemlocks of the swamps. The bundle for distance learning has five parts: Part 1: The Text. Finding Tom so squeamish on this point, he did not insist upon it, but proposed, instead, that he should turn usurer; the devil being extremely anxious for the increase of usurers, looking upon them as his peculiar people. Tom Walker, however, was not a man to be troubled with any fears of the kind. Tom Walker never returned to foreclose the mortgage. Tom's wife is perfectly content to allow her husband to sacrifice himself for the sake of financial gain, and she pressures him to do it. found nothing but a heart and liver tied up in it! In a word, the great speculating fever which breaks out every now and then in the country had raged to an alarming degree, and everybody was dreaming of making sudden fortunes from nothing. “The Devil and Tom Walker” by Washington Irving Easy Reading Version Washington Irving Before we begin our story, let us go back three hundred years to the late sixteen hundreds. A "black-leg" refers to a swindler, a gambler, or someone who tries to deceive someone of their possessions. said the black man, with a growl of triumph. In those years, one of the most famous men in the world was Captain William Kidd. "'The Devil and Tom Walker'" is a short story written by Washington Irving (the same author of "'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow'"). At length he arrived at a firm piece of ground, which ran like a peninsula into the deep bosom of the swamp. "What proof have I that all you have been telling me is true?" The most famous and influential version of this tale is Faust by Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832). In place of gold and silver, his iron chest was filled with chips and shavings; two skeletons lay in his stable instead of his half-starved horses, and the very next day his great house took fire and was burned to the ground. Readers might wonder why the devil didn't deal with Tom's wife, especially considering how she was just as greedy, if not more so, than Tom. However, such paths often contain risks and complications, in this case not only economic ones, but perhaps ones that lead to eternal damnation. As he scrambled up the tree, the vulture spread its wide wings and sailed off, screaming, into the deep shadows of the forest. Washington Irving's short story "The Devil and Tom Walker" was originally published in 1824 as part of Tales of a Traveller. The land-jobbers would likely have been either eagerly searching for such a place or selling false information on its whereabouts in order to make money off of other speculators' gullibility. He became, therefore, all of a sudden, a violent church-goer. It is used to inform the public that a notable and good person had died. The presence of the fort attests to how war (and therefore greed) ultimately results in nothing but ruin and loss. He wants Tom's soul in return. "Tom, you're come for," said the black fellow, gruffly. His surprise also conveys the idea that either Tom has very little self-awareness about his own spiritual self, or he simply doesn't care. Tom's wife wouldn't have been able to hold such a position due to the social restrictions enforced on women at the time. He leaped with joy, for he recognized his wife's apron, and supposed it to contain the household valuables. Having secured the good things of this world, he began to feel anxious about those of the next. The men all made deals with the devil. The old Indian fort is not only where Tom first made a deal with the devil but is also the gateway to hell. Demonstrating that there was never any love in his marriage, Tom heartlessly feels better about losing his property because the devil rid him of his wife. A "land-jobber" is a real-estate investor or speculator; someone who makes his or her living by buying and selling land on speculation. 9th - 12th grade. However, this does not mean that they are heroic; rather, it is further evidence of how unaware they are of spiritual matters and how little they value their own lives. While this word typically refers to a woman's breasts or chest, "bosom" can also be used in a figurative sense to refer to the heart of a place. A few days' time saw Tom Walker seated behind his desk in a counting-house in Boston. The Devil and Tom Walker By Washington Irving A FEW MILES from Boston, in Massachusetts, there is a deep inlet winding several miles into the interior of the country from Charles Bay, and terminating in a thickly wooded swamp, or morass. Finally, readers do not have to believe that Tom Walker actually deals with the devil; they can simply believe that the legend says it happened. Irving shows that Tom and his wife are not the only people in the area who are greedy. It's possible that the narrator doesn't say this explicitly because the very thought of someone being so greedy that he'd sell his soul for treasure or material gain is too horrific. At length, it is said, when delay had whetted Tom's eagerness to the quick and prepared him to agree to anything rather than not gain the promised treasure, he met the black man one evening in his usual woodsman's dress, with his axe on his shoulder, sauntering along the swamp and humming a tune. Click "Start Assignment". Kidd made a deal with the devil to protect his money. What does the narrator reveal about Mrs. Walker's thoughts and feelings? A few straggling savin-trees, emblems of sterility, grew near it; no smoke ever curled from its chimney; no traveller stopped at its door. "And, pray, who are you, if I may be so bold?" The Film follows Tom Walker (Brian Roller) as he is transformed from money hungry redneck to corrupted banker. Mrs. Walker is a person who just wants all the treasure for herself and is a very greedy. Such was the end of Tom Walker and his ill-gotten wealth. Tom now grew uneasy for her safety, especially as he found she had carried off in her apron the silver tea-pot and spoons, and every portable article of value. No one ventured, however, to interfere between them. 1. Interestingly, Tom's refusal here is also his only act of grace in the tale. Any one but he would have felt unwilling to linger in this lonely, melancholy place, for the common people had a bad opinion of it, from the stories handed down from the times of the Indian wars, when it was asserted that the savages held incantations here and made sacrifices to the Evil Spirit. He was not prone to let his wife into his confidence; but as this was an uneasy secret, he willingly shared it with her. What is the deal the devil offers to make with Tom Walker? ", "Deacon Peabody be damned," said the stranger, "as I flatter myself he will be, if he does not look more to his own sins and less to those of his neighbors. A "squaw" refers to an American Indian women or wife. This, however, Tom resolutely refused; he was bad enough in all conscience, but the devil himself could not tempt him to turn slave-trader. Instead, these actions represent how spiritually blind he truly has become. "Let that skull alone!" 7. The devil's pleasure at this persecution emphasizes how hypocritical the actions of Christians against one another are, because they only serve the devil's evil will rather than the good of the community. As he grows older, Tom begins thinking that, perhaps, selling his everlasting soul to the Devil wasn't the best idea. by caseymoore10. They must have been very hard, for he required time to think of them, and he was not a man to stick at trifles when money was in view. As a usurer, Tom is truly no one's friend because he takes advantage of the situation by exploiting the debtors vulnerability and ruthlessly driving them to bankruptcy. Away went Tom Walker, dashing down the streets, his white cap bobbing up and down, his morning-gown fluttering in the wind, and his steed striking fire out of the pavement at every bound. All her 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. The clerks stuck their pens behind their ears, and stared after him from the windows. With Kevin Pauley, Brian Roller, Meredith Overcash. Write a few sentences describing the importance or meaning of the images. The color green often has associations with envy, money, and avarice, or greed. The Crowninshields were a famous and wealthy American family who formed part of the upper class of Boston society. In proportion to the distress of the applicant was the hardness of his terms. There was one condition which need not be mentioned, being generally understood in all cases where the devil grants favors; but there were others about which, though of less importance, he was inflexibly obstinate. Here is Shep O'Neal with our story. "You shall lend money at two per cent. He was sulky, however, and would not come to terms; she was to go again with a propitiatory offering, but what it was she forbore to say. Such, according to this most authentic old story, was all that was to be found of Tom's wife. It had been one of the strongholds of the Indians during their wars with the first colonists. (��h"�Y��s��K9�]�?���yU���8�;�=���/i�����.i�wa�g�D?�2rMr�V&C'�Q7��I�W��� Tm�@��_�6�F��~��#VR��A�G�gK�F N�z��MI��a��c���߿~��lU��� For this reason, stories in which the protagonist sells his soul to the devil are usually called Faustian legends. “The Devil and Tom Walker” Plot Diagram Example Exposition. I am the wild huntsman in some countries; the black miner in others. a month.". He was on the point of foreclosing a mortgage, by which he would complete the ruin of an unlucky land-speculator for whom he had professed the greatest friendship. The land jobber means that because he will have lost all of his money to Tom, his family will have to rely on the charity of the church for support. The Devil and Tom Walker. %�쏢 Tom's surprise is a good example of irony since he has lived his whole life in sin and shouldn't be so startled to see the devil, the very embodiment of sin, in front of him. 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 axe. The narrator offers several different versions of what possibly happened to Tom's wife. Remember that TWIST stands for Tone, Word Choice, Imagery, Style, Theme. The Devil and Tom Walker DRAFT. replied Tom Walker. said Tom. Tom had long been picking his way cautiously through this treacherous forest, stepping from tuft to tuft of rushes and roots, which afforded precarious footholds among deep sloughs, or pacing carefully, like a cat, along the prostrate trunks of trees, startled now and then by the sudden screaming of the bittern, or the quacking of a wild duck, rising on the wing from some solitary pool. Captain William Kidd was a Scottish sailor charged and executed for piracy in 1701. Irving uses this second-hand narration to give his short story a long, local history, which is a primary trait of a folktale. The devil's conditions are unknown. This article needs additional citations for verification. Irving is likely suggesting that sinful behavior always comes full circle and ends in punishment. To this no objections were made, for it was just to Tom's taste. Major Inciting Conflict. On one side of this inlet is a beautiful 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, so that the first high wind was likely to blow it down. What these conditions were may be easily surmised, though Tom never disclosed them publicly. I am he to whom the red men consecrated this spot, and in honor of whom they now and then roasted a white man, by way of sweet-smelling sacrifice. The puddingstone around Boston is called Roxbury, and it is around 500 million years old. Tom had grown testy and irritated, and refused another delay. "You shall open a broker's shop in Boston next month," said the black man. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. The old stories add, moreover, that the devil presided at the hiding of the money, and took it under his guardianship; but this, it is well known, he always does with buried treasure, particularly when it has been ill-gotten. "You have made so much money out of me," said the speculator. Tom's pact with the devil, his sinful actions, and his religious hypocrisy, all reveal how Irving believes such behavior will be punished, and he has his narrator end the tale with an appropriate warning. Instant downloads of all 1393 LitChart PDFs (including The Devil and Tom Walker). The story continues around 1727. From this perspective, it's clear that the colonists are no more moral than the Native Americans; they are simply better about lying to themselves about their own immorality. "Your grounds!" said Tom, with a sneer; "no more your grounds than mine; they belong to Deacon Peabody. They lived in a forlorn-looking house that stood alone and had an air of starvation. This is a digital bundle for "The Devil and Tom Walker," by Washington Irving, which is a great story for students learning about Romanticism and our nation's first author. Simply having the Bible around the house doesn't help hypocrites like Tom when the devil comes knocking at his door. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Tom knew his wife's prowess by experience. In this way he made money hand over hand, became a rich and mighty man, and exalted his cocked hat upon "Change." Crayon's reference to the old stories enhances this tale's status as a "legend." So saying, he turned off among the thickets of the swamp, and seemed, as Tom said, to go down, down, down, into the earth, until nothing but his head and shoulders could be seen, and so on, until he totally disappeared. The idea that the American Indians worship the devil conforms to the racist perception of Native Americans when the story was written. The good people of Boston shook their heads and shrugged their shoulders, but had been so much accustomed to witches and goblins, and tricks of the devil, in all kinds of shapes, from the first settlement of the colony, that they were not so much horror-struck as might have been expected. Of course none of this is possible without the help of Ol' Scratch (Kevin Michael Pauley). Browse Questions; All; This devices performs several functions: First, it allows Irving to create more distance between himself and his readers. He was exceedingly surprised, having neither heard nor seen any one approach; and he was still more perplexed on observing, as well as the gathering gloom would permit, that the stranger was neither negro nor Indian. While in Europe the hemlock plant is highly poisonous with fern-like leaves, in North America the hemlock fir or spruce is a large coniferous tree with dark green foliage. The narrator has described Tom and his wife as fearless when facing the devil. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs. An adaptation of Washington Irving's Faustian legend set against a grim, Southern Gothic backdrop. 3 years ago. On searching his coffers, all his bonds and mortgages were reduced to cinders. Tom may have a higher quality of life than he did prior to becoming a usurer, but he remains a greedy miser who doesn't even use the wealth he's acquired. 'S forehead said that after this commencement they had reached the old stories, was! Heart and liver tied up in it, lay before him with the devil is. Unawares, therefore, it adds to the social restrictions enforced on women at world! 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