Write a unified essay about the way each author portrayed the devil in “The Devil and Tom Walker” and “The Devil and Daniel Webster”. Use examples from each to establish the controlling idea about how the authors developed the character. Show how each author uses specific literary techniques to develop the character. Red 3 “The Devil and Tom Walker” and “The Devil and Daniel Webster” might share similar titles, but their portrayal of the devil is completely different from the other. In fact, the only significant similarity between these two stories is the title.
Of course, there are other details that are similar, but none significant enough to waste printer ink. Each author, Washington Irving and Stephen Bent, respectively, portrays the Devil in their own capacity, which makes the two stories even more enjoyable to read. Irvings “The Devil and Tom Walker” has the devil as more of a ruthless, “outdoorsy” type creature, while Bents “The Devil and Daniel Webster” shows the devil as a common businessman, more civilized. “The Devil and Tom Walker” takes place during 1727 in the area that is today New England. Irving shows the area as very rural and country-like, and the main character, Tom Walker, is a very poor man, whose lifestyle is the epitome of a rural life. Therefore, the devil must be portrayed as normal in Toms lifestyle.
For while Tom was making his walk through the woods and “Ol Scratch” was dressed in a pinstriped three-piece suit, he wouldnt fit the part. Therefore, the woodsman style persona of the devil, down to the dark skin and long hair, makes you feel like he is a complete part of Toms environment. Besides the idea of the setting to bring about the devil, there is also the comparison to Tom himself. Normally, the Devil is shown at a similar level as the protagonist in a devil story. In “The Devil and Tom Walker”, Tom is not a very educated man. He doesnt have a job that involves intelligence at first. When we first meet the devil, he is in a murky, swampy area, and talks to Tom with a bit of a colloquial drawl.
However, when we see the devil again at the end of the story, Tom is a bit more educated through his loan shark dealings, as well as through his extreme perusal of the Bible. When we see the devil now, he is on a long, dark horse, something that is a bit above the level of a murky swamp dweller. The imagery of the devil is a wonderful way that Irving has of making the devil seem so outdoors-like and rural. In making the devil, Irvings use of irony is wonderful, especially in the part where the devil had the names of prominent men engraved on his trees, as well as the part where Tom boldly states, “The devil take me if I have made a farthing!”. Overall, Irvings “The Devil and Tom Walker” shows the lighter side of the devil. Bents “The Devil and Daniel Webster”, however, puts a whole different light on the devil.
In this version of man vs. devil, the devil is shown as more of a businessman, rather than as an outdoorsman. His title is changed from “Ol Scratch” to “Mr. Scratch”, his wardrobe changes from dirty rags to briefcase carrying, and his setting and lifestyle change from swamp dweller to urban businessman. “The Devil and Daniel Webster” takes place over one hundred years later, in a pre-Civil War era, ranging from anywhere between 1835-1860. However, it is also taking place in New England, in the now-established state of New Hampshire. The character affiliated with the devil in this story is not Webster himself, but a commoner named Jabez Stone.
Stone was a man who was very unlucky and unhappy with the way his life had been turning out so far, so he goes to the devil for help. This time, the devil makes a formal written agreement instead of a handshake, and has all his contracts filed in an orderly manner. Bent makes it seem as though the devil is running a business or performing a profession rather than just doing it for the sole purpose of self-benefit. Bent brings about the devil by use of irony and makes him into a complex character by the use of foreshadowing. The use of irony is portrayed in two main ways. The first way is in which the devil is said as the King of Lawyers, yet a human(!) beats him in his own game. The second way is how the devil is shown as immortal, and yet, after losing to Webster, he leaves, never to return he might as well be as good as dead if he is never to return.
The use of foreshadowing is showing how Webster was a great orator and eloquent speaker, but yet he still beats the devil at the devils own game. Overall, the devil is shown as a more civilized being in “The Devil and Daniel Webster” through the change of time and environment, as well the excellent use of irony and foreshadowing. “The Devil and Tom Walker” and “The Devil and Daniel Webster” were written at different times of American history, and this is evident in the style of form of writing. The devil is portrayed differently in both stories, as shown by the paragraphs above. While the devil is more of a bumpkin in “The Devil and Tom Walker”, he becomes more of a civilized person in “The Devil and Daniel Webster”. However, I find it ironic that as the devil becomes more civilized, he loses his case, as opposed to the hick-type devil having full control over Tom Walker.
During the reading of these two stories, I not only realized the difference regarding the devil and his actions, but the way that he was treated throughout the two stories. Regardless of their content, I know that these are two stories that have been read and enjoyed for many years, and will continue to be enjoyed by students and grown adults alike for many years to come.