I want them to see how the narrator is able to get inside the head of Tom Walker and company in this story. When Tom reached home, he found the black print of a finger, burnt, as it were, into his forehead, which nothing could obliterate. Be that as it may, Kidd never returned to recover his wealth; being shortly after seized at Boston, sent out to England, and there hanged for a pirate. There was nothing, however, to administer upon. No one ventured, however, to interfere between them. He prayed loudly and strenuously, as if heaven were to be taken by force of lungs.
The one on which he had been seated, and which had evidently just been hewn down, bore the name of Crowninshield: and he recollected a mighty rich man of that name, who made a vulgar display of wealth, which it was whispered he had acquired by buccaneering. 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. Although she ends up dead, Tomstill decides to take the DevilÃ¢?? Trustees were appointed to take charge of Tom's effects. He affected to receive Tom's advances with great indifference, made brief replies, and went on humming his tune. In this way, Washington Irving uses humor and irony to show the lack of love between Tom and his wife. He feels gratitude to the devil that he got rid of his wife for him, and this convinces him to make a deal with the devil. 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.
For homework to tie everything together and touch upon my Common Core Standard, I am assigning students to write a one-page reflection exploring how Washington Irving uses characterization to retell his version of the Faust legend. He insisted that the money found through his means should be employed in his service. So here, the swamp symbolizes the figurative wrong path. 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 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. 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. The country had been deluged with government bills; the famous Land Bank had been established; there had been a rage for speculating; the people had run mad with schemes for new settlements, for building cities in the wilderness; land-jobbers went about with maps of grants and townships and Eldorados, lying nobody knew where, but which everybody was ready to purchase.
He insisted that the money found through his means should be employed in his service. Nevertheless less, the next time the devilappears to Tom, he is eager to strike a deal now that he will nothave to share anything with his wife. Just then there were three loud knocks at the street door. He proposed, therefore, that Tom should employ it in the black traffic; that is to say, that he should fit out a slave-ship. Whatever the woman could lay hands on she hid away; a hen could not cackle but she was on the alert to secure the new-laid egg. 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. On searching his coffers, all his bonds and mortgages were reduced to cinders.
Are the characters persons you would want to meet? Old Scratch is given several names in the story, including wild huntsman and black woodsman. These he offered to place within Tom Walker's reach, having conceived an especial kindness for him; but they were to be had only on certain conditions. I am the great patron and prompter of slave-dealers, and the grand-master of the Salem witches. In the end, his greed andswearing in the devil's name allowed the devil to take him away,despite his religious fervor at the end of his life. He never finishes furnishing his house and never feeds his horses. 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.
How does this relationship fit into his version of the Faust legend? As soon as his wife is gone, he's very anxious to find the Devil again simply to find a way to convince him to give the treasure away. Her voice was often heard in wordy warfare with her husband; and his face sometimes showed signs that their conflicts were not confined to words. He feels sorry for the devil having to deal with her. 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. It is said that after this commencement they had a long and earnest conversation together, as Tom returned homeward. A few straggling savin trees, emblems of sterility, grew near it; no smoke ever curled from its chimney; no traveler stopped at its door. It was late in the dusk of evening when Tom Walker reached the old fort, and he paused there awhile to rest himself.
The devil's swamp shows the moral corruption of society's leaders and foreshadows their damnation. Old Scratch tosses Tom Walker on the back of a black horse which rides toward the old fortress and disappears in lightning. He shrugged his shoulders as he looked at the signs of fierce clapper-clawing. 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. Trustees were appointed to take charge of Tom's effects. The fact that many of the names on the trees are powerful figures reinforces the notion that power and wealth invariably leads to moral corruption. That he might not be taken unawares, therefore, it is said he always carried a small Bible in his coat-pocket.
It was a time of paper credit. Tom seized the checked apron, but, woful sight! He is a hypocrite because he says he wouldn't do the slave trade yet he is having the poor people make his money for him, which is basically slavery. When Tom is away, she takes all their valuables in and goes to make a deal with Old Scratch. If need be, I may do this exercise whole-class. Specifically, I want students to consider the following: Why does Irving create a volatile or tempestuous relationship between Tom Walker and his wife? It is true he was dressed in a rude Indian garb, and had a red belt or sash swathed round his body; but his face was neither black nor copper-color, but swarthy and dingy, and begrimed with soot, as if he had been accustomed to toil among fires and forges.
He is lying, of course; he has made plenty of money off of the poor land-jobber he is speaking to when he gets carried away. He called her name repeatedly, but she was nowhere to be heard. At length he arrived at a firm piece of ground, which ran like a peninsula into the deep bosom of the swamp. Irving uses this moment to again satirize marriage by drawing attention to Tom's behavior and providing dark humor around the event. For a class that is advanced, I may ask students to get with a partner and answer the questions that we have just covered in the story. A countryman, who lived on the border of the swamp, reported that in the height of the thunder-gust he had heard a great clattering of hoofs and a howling along the road, and running to the window caught sight of a figure, such as I have described, on a horse that galloped like mad across the fields, over the hills, and down into the black hemlock swamp toward the old Indian fort, and that shortly after a thunder-bolt falling in that direction seemed to set the whole forest in a blaze.