Romanticism In Washington Irving's The Devil And Tom Walker

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Romanticism
As Americans evolved from Classicism to Romanticism there was much change, especially in literature. Classicism prioritized the idea of reason and valued “clarity, order, and balance” (Hodgins, 119). In contrast, Romanticism emphasized “importance upon the emotions and upon the individual” (Hodgins, 119). Early American Romanticists shared several central attitudes and ideas, including a concern with the “deeper” aspects of the human psychology that lie beyond rational awareness, and a tendency to value individualism over all social forms or systems.
During the late eighteenth century, Benjamin Franklin was one of the intelligent fellows who blended classicism with romanticism. As he tried to accomplish moral perfection he documented his tactics and his results in The Autobiography. Franklin described this task as “an arduous project” and brought two polar aspects of life, morals and science, together to try and reach the pinnacle of morality through the creation
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Tom Walker’s wife is described as “a tall termagant, fierce of temper, loud of tongue, and strong of arm”, creating a clear idea that she is a callous, cruel creature (Irving, 128). There was a humorous tone because of the role reversal with domestic violence. Women usually are the culprit of mental and physical maltreatment but, in this situation the female (Tom’s wife) took the masculine role and “[sometimes showed signs that [the] conflicts were not [always] confined to words” (Irving, 128). Usually when referencing abuse it is taken seriously. However, in this situation it was supposed to be interpreted as comical. In order to present an incongruous humorous tone like Washington Irving did, he needed to think outside the box using his individuality, leaving behind any “literary standards … regarded as universally valid” (Hodgins,
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