Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Devil and Tom Walker by Washington Irving --- Review


'The Devil and Tom Walker' by Washington Irving is an interpretation of the legend about Faust, who sold his soul to the devil. The plot was taken from 16th century Europe and staged in 17th century USA.

The motive of this deal with the devil was the same as always - money. The main character, Tom Walker met the devil a few miles from Boston Massachusetts, in a wooded swamp or morass. The first proposal of the devil to become a slave trader was dismissed by Tom Walker, but the offer to start a usurious business was accepted.

After a while, Tom Walker became a notorious figure in Boston. He was cruel to the debtors and the devil was satisfied by his service. Nevertheless, Tom Walker started thinking about atonement for his egregious sins. He even carried the Bible with him, but the devil took him unawares and send him to hell.

The remarkable distinguishing feature of the story is the mixture of old legend with the contemporary times of the author. Washington Irving mentioned in the story current places and events of his time. The story is a subject for study in schools because the topic about the conflict between kindness and evil is an eternal topic for discussion.


Here is the link to the text of the story: