The Devil and Tom Walker" by Washington Irving, and "The Man in the Black Suit" by Stephen King Comparison

Essay by AyashiHimuraHigh School, 10th gradeA, March 2004

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The Devil has been the subject of many stories, always represented as an evil being, a cursed creature that preys on the souls of humans. He is described in many different ways, just like the many forms he takes in many stories. Two famous stories that deal with this fearsome creature are "The Devil and Tom Walker" by Washington Irving, and "The Man in the Black Suit" by Stephen King. Both suggest that the Devil always pursue the human weaknesses, however, Irving implies that the Devil only hunts the corrupted heart; while King signifies the Devil also take interest in innocents.

In "The Devil and Tom Walker," Tom Walker is a corrupted and greedy man, but, he is just a poor farmer who could only desire for that power and money. However, one day, the Devil appeared in front of him, willing to give him all that he desires in exchange for his soul.

Tom with his already tainted soul, agreed, and lives a well lived life, having everything he ever wanted through the most desecrate way possible. "Tom was the universal friend of the needy, and he acted like a 'friend in need'...(however,) He accumulated bonds and mortgages; gradually squeezed his costumers closer and closer; and sent them at length, dry as a sponge from his door." He made money by deception, cheating people of lands, destroying homes, and taking over other's hard earned land. Yet towards the end of his life he still wishes to cleanse his sins by going to church, admitting god and praying, however this is once again due to his own selfishness. "Having secured the good things of this world, he began to feel anxious about those of the next. He thought with regret on the bargain he...