How Does Washington Irving Use Satire In The Devil And Tom Walker

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Washington Irving, in his story The Devil and Tom Walker, written in 1824, is seen as critical of many aspects of society. Through the use of satire, Irving criticized the institution of marriage, religion, and the “white establishment”.
In what way does Irving take on organized religion? Irving describes Deacon Peabody as “an eminent man, who had waxed wealthy by driving shrewd bargains with the Indians.”(Irving pg.21) Deacon (Priest) Peabody was a member of the clergy. A clergyman is not expected to be a wealthy ‘driver of bargains’ or in league with the devil. This is a perfect example of satire, because it’s very critical of the man. Clergy should be working for God, not the devil. It also implies that he is a man with vices. Another example of religious satire is Tom’s ironical behavior after he made the deal with the devil. Tom became afraid of his fate. “He became, therefore, all of a sudden, a violent churchgoer. He prayed loudly and strenuously, as if heaven were to be taken by force of lungs.” (Irving pg.28). Tom got what he wanted …show more content…

People thought that the indians were savages, but in reality it was also the white man. Irving offers this description of a place in the woods where the indian once ruled, “a...fort, they had looked upon as almost impregnable, and had used as a place of refuge for their squaws and children.” (Irving. pg.20) The devil is also quoted as saying, “since the red men have been exterminated by you white savages”(Irving pg.22) in his conversation with Tom. This demonstrates the weapon of satire, criticizing the white man to be the real savages because they took their land. Another example of satire about the ‘white establishment’ is the “mighty rich man...who made a vulgar display of wealth”. (Irving pg.22) Crowninshield is a big wig in the town, but he made money from pirating. He is a wealthy man because of pirating and not like he should be, by

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