Comparing The Devil And Tom Walker And Ralph Waldo Emerson

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In 18th century Europe, a literary movement, romanticism and transcendentalism, came about which inspired many American writers. Although, the two are very similar in philosophy and ideology they are quite distinct to the extent of their beliefs. Both are firm believers in the sacredness of nature, but their views on religion remain indifferent. Many romantic and transcendental writers flourished during this time period. Like the romantic, Washington Irving, who wrote “The Devil and Tom Walker”, and the transcendental, Ralph Waldo Emerson who wrote “Nature”. “The Devil and Tom Walker”, romantic, and “Nature”, transcendental, share the same values of the beauty of nature, but oppose each other on their views of God’s worth. Romanticism is …show more content…

The story is about a cruel man, named Tom, who comes across the devil and exchanges his soul for success. Tom becomes a ruthless money lender, who later realizes his poor decisions, and attempts to become in touch with god in order to redeem himself of his past self. The most self explanatory element used in this tale is the beauty and awe of nature. Irving describes a scene in the woods, “Stepping from tuft to tuft of rushes and roots, which afforded precarious footholds among deep sloughs...” (Irving,230). Illustrates romanticism because of his depiction of nature and Tom’s situation in it. Irving also goes into a deeper sense of nature and its correlation with man when Tom heads out into the woods , “On one side of this inlet is a beautiful dark grove; on the opposite side the land rises abruptly from the water's edge into a high ridge...” (Irving,229). Portraying not only the awe of nature, but also how nature has man like elements. Towards the end of the story, after Tom has sold off his soul, he realizes his inner corruption and attempts recovery by becoming religious and always carrying a bible on him. The significance to his attempt is that romantics were not one for god. To add to the irony god did not repeal him of his mistake, instead the devil takes him away and is never seen

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