Similarities Between The Devil And Tom Walker

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American literature has undergone enormous changes, with each era being a representation of the beliefs and values of the time period. The stories “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and “The Devil and Tom Walker” are two examples of American literature that represent different eras and their changing beliefs. James Thurber’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” follows Walter Mitty, who uses vivid daydreams to escape his tiresome life. In “The Devil and Tom Walker” by Washington Irving encompasses Tom Walker’s greediness, which eventually leads him to make a deal with the devil. Although Thurber’s piece is from the modernism era and Irving's piece is from the puritanism era, both authors analyze a theme of escapism, an insightful perspective that …show more content…

Flying through a terrible storm Walter’s “twenty years of Navy flying fades in the remote, intimate airways of his mind. You know I don’t like to fly, he thought. Why do I have to fly? I don’t want to fly. I’ve been to London” (Thurber). Thurber’s insight into Walter’s thoughts exhibits his reluctance to face reality and desire to escape through his daydreams. Through this observation of his thoughts, Walter is better understood, such as his eagerness to take risks even if they are made up in his mind. Analyzing him as a person, Tom “was a hard-minded fellow, not easily daunted, and he had lived so long with a termagant wife that he did not even fear the devil” (Irving 2). Irving’s description of Tom expresses his toughness and practicalness, and how he is not overtaken by fear. This insight into his personality and thoughts explains why Tom considers making a deal with the devil, despite the risks. Tom’s deep thoughts are revealed through the light being shed upon the difficult circumstances leading him to make a dire decision. Although both provide insight into important characters, Irving gives the perspective of multiple people, including Tom and his wife. On the contrary, Thurber only gives insight into Walter’s thoughts, not even his wife. The use of insightful perspective allows for deeper understanding and a look into thoughts and …show more content…

During the early twentieth century, an ideal man would be considered one who is powerful, educated, and successful. Walter’s daydreams often focus on masculine roles, which allow him to feel the confidence and control he typically does not experience in reality. However, being brought back to reality, Mrs. Mitty questions, “‘What are you driving so fast for?’ ‘Hmm?’ said Walter Mitty. He looked at his wife, in the seat beside him, with shocked astonishment. She seemed grossly unfamiliar, like a strange woman who had yelled at him in a crowd” (Thurber). His wife’s interruption undermines his sense of masculinity and heroism. The tension between Walter’s wife and his daydreams highlights the societal expectations surrounding masculinity, critiquing the time period’s standards. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Puritanism rose rapidly, and one of the many ideals Puritans lived by was the rejection of material wealth. Ironically, Tom “built himself, as usual, a vast house, out of ostentation, but left the greater part of it unfinished and unfurnished, out of parsimony” (Irving 4). Although he considers himself a part of the Puritan community, Tom constructs a house to flaunt his wealth without even furnishing the inside. He is more concerned with appearances than adherence to the Puritan principles, highlighting hypocrisy of the Puritan community. Tom’s behavior critiques the

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