Satire in the devil and tom walker
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SATIRE in “The Devil and Tom Walker”. A Definition. SATIRE – Literature that exposes in order to ridicule the vices or follies of people or societies. Satire in the Tall Tale.

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SATIRE in “The Devil and Tom Walker”

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SATIRE in “The Devil and Tom Walker”


A Definition

  • SATIRE – Literature that exposes in order to ridicule the vices or follies of people or societies.


Satire in the Tall Tale

  • The main object of Washington Irving’s satire is greedy people, especially those whose wealth is ill-gotten or gained through the bad luck of others.

  • Irving pokes fun at this type of person through his exaggerated characterization of Tom and his wife.


Examples of Exaggeration

  • Neither Tom’s nor his wife’s character is believable. Why?

  • The wife is so greedy that she hides eggs from her husband.

  • Tom is not only eager to trade his soul for wealth, but his greed is greater than even the devil’s.


Other Examples of Tom’s Character That Add a Comic Effect

  • Greed – charges more interest than even the devil suggests

  • Hypocrisy – has sold soul to the devil but criticizes others for being sinful

  • Miserliness – won’t even spend money to feed horses or grease his wagon wheels


Other Examples of Tom’s Character That Add a Comic Effect (cont.)

  • Foolishness – trades peace of mind (and eternity) for wealth

  • Stubbornness – wants to make a deal with the devil but doesn’t because his wife wants him to


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