The Theme Behind the Name
By: Nazia Chowdhury
Names of characters often stick to our minds and we make a permanent connection between the story and the name. Therefore, characters are given distinctive names which reflect their personality and have some sort of correlations with the story. Both Irving and Poe use specifically chosen names in their stories in order to illustrate a significant theme; however, Irving uses the names in his story to show the immorality in greed, while Poe uses the names in his story to condemn Puritanism.
Irving uses sarcasm in his stories and this can be seen in the names he gives to his characters. In Irving's "Devil and Tom Walker," Deacon Peabody was wealthy and was seen as an "eminent man." (p.353) The title attached to his name is given to "Protestant layperson who assists the minister," (www.dictionary.com) yet it is also used "with humorous reference to hypocritical posing."
(www.dictionary.com) He seems to be respected by the colonist and owns much of the land, but still, he was avaricious and it seems he was the type to do anything for money, for instance, making "shrewd bargains with the Indians" (p.353) in order to get money. Another name Irving uses to display the dissoluteness of being acquisitive is Absalom Crowninshield. He was another man of great wealth in the New England and he accumulated these possessions "through buccaneering." (p.353) The crown and shield in his last name symbolizes the British monarchy, which had this eagerness of control and making money from the New World. His name does not only demonstrate his greediness, but also reveals his demise. In the Bible it is stated that Absalom took over the throne from his father and was later slain by his father's army commander. (www.dictionary.com) In the story,