Satire• a literary device in which people, customs, or institutions are ridiculed with the purpose of improving society. Look at passage on pg. 311• Can you think of a satire film or show?
• Themes: people who’ll stop at nothing to achieve wealth, success or fame are said to have “sold their soul.” Sacrifice morality, family, privacy. Is it worth it?• Partners: Think of real or fictional people that fit this description.
• Faustian tale – inspired by European legends. Irving makes the serious subject of selling one’s soul to the Devil comical. Hypocrisy between the outer actions and the condition of the soul.
Imagery lines 1-15 Ill fated place• thickly wooded swamp• the devil presided at the hiding of the money• treasure has been ill gotten
Imagery lines 16-30 Tom and his wife• miserly; conspired to cheat each other”• she hid eggs from him• no traveler stopped at their miserable house• “forlorn looking house with an air of starvation”• starved horse pacing outside• Tom and his wife are sneaky, mean-spirited, greedy and selfish
Satire - lines 31-37 Marriage• Tom’s wife is “fierce of temper”, quarrelsome, “loud of tongue” and “strong of arm”• she is physically abusive to her husband• a passerby would hurry past and not interfere, happy if he was unmarried
Imagery lines 40-47 Mood• dark, gloomy, ominous: “black, smothering mud”, “dark at noonday”, “ill chosen route”, “full of pits and quagmires”
Indian Fort• impregnable, a place of refuge, overgrown and sunken• lonely, melancholy, savages held incantations there and made sacrifices to evil spirits
Infer lines 68-77 Tom’s reaction to swamp• Tom is untroubled by the spooky swamp and treats the skull carelessly and disrespectfully.• He is fearless and not superstitious.
• When have you or someone you know unexpectedly encountered an intimidating stranger? What feelings did the encounter elicit?
Analyze Frightening Stranger• “gruff voice”• “swarthy and dingy face” that was “begrimed with soot, as if he had been accustomed to toil among fires and forges”• red eyes and coarse black hair• he appeared out of nowhere• is carrying an ax on his shoulder and is scowling at Tom and challenges him
• Tom reacts with defiance, not fear – does not seem intimidated.
Make Inferences lines 96-105 Trees with names• they are marked with the names of men who have made deals with the devil, selling their souls in exchange for wealth or power• the trees are “flourishing without, but rotten within”• Deacon Peabody – bargains with Indians, Crowninshield – pirate
Satire lines 115-118 Tone towards settlers• by suggesting that the devil is behind these activities [slavery, Salem witch trials, persecutions of more tolerant religions] Irving is condemning these as evil
• Tom shows no fear when speaking with the Devil because he has lived with his abusive wife.
• Devil offers Tom Kidd’s buried treasure in exchange for his name on the tree (his soul).
Consequences• Crowninshield became rich, but the Devil eventually cut down his tree and taken his due. Inescapable consequences when bargaining with the Devil.
Decisions • Tom has to think about the Devil’s bargain a long time. • Wife wants him to agree to the Devil’s terms so that they can be rich. • He spitefully doesn’t want to do this because it would please his wife.
Their relationship• Tom’s wife’s only concern is for wealth (not her husband’s welfare or soul)• Tom is concerned with not making his wife happy
Fate of Tom’s Wife• She tries to make a bargain with the Devil for herself• Rumors: lost her way in the swamp, fell into a quagmire, she had eloped with the valuables to another town, the black man was seen with her bundle
Imagery lines 189-192 Bundle in the tree• “carrion crows hovering”• “bundle tied in a check apron”• “vulture perched as if keeping watch”
Satire lines 199-207 “Female Scold”• details of the fight between Tom’s wife and the Devil: “handfuls of hair”, “fierce clapper- clawing” “female scold is generally considered a match for the devil”• Tom feels sympathy for the Devil, not his wife.
Remains• all that remains of her is her heart and liver• she tried to slap the Devil around to get her way, like she did to Tom
Tom’s reaction to wife’s death• “consoled himself for the loss of his property with the loss of his wife”• feels gratitude for the Devil• wanted a friendship with the Devil and seeks him out
Devil’s strategy to get Tom to agree to make a bargain with him:• 1. Kill his wife• 2. Remain elusive, so that Tom becomes eager to talk to him• 3. Appears indifferent when he finally meets Tom
Bargain • The money has to be used in the Devil’s service. • Devil suggests Tom invest in the slave trade, but Tom refuses. • Tom agrees to become a money lender.
Satire lines 232-243Tom compared with Devil• Tom is even greedier and more merciless that the Devil.• Irving considers usurers coldblooded, ruthless creatures.• Gets wealthy on the misfortune of others.
A good time to be a usurerPeople need money because of:schemes for new settlementsmyths of Eldorados speculating: risky transactions to make quick money dreams of making something from nothing hard times for those that lost fortunes adventurers, tradesmen, merchants, gamblersIrving criticizes “the great speculating fever” (unstable, eventually subsides and leaves people with nothing)
Tom’s new house• an ostentatious house• meant for display and to impress others• unfinished and unfurnished inside because of Tom’s stinginess• House reflects his character: wealthy on the outside, hollow on the inside (like the trees)
Imagery lines 264-275 Tom and his clients• “acted like a friend in need”: pretend• “gradually squeezed his customers closer and closer”: takes everything• “nearly starved the horses”: shows off carriages but doesn’t feed the horses
Satire lines 276-289 Tom and church• Tom becomes thoughtful in old age and begins to be concerned about his afterlife.• He attempts to cheat the Devil out of his bargain by going to church.• Prays loudly, thinking heaven can be won by force of lungs.• He is a hypocrite: regularly attends church and criticizes others for their sins, yet is the biggest sinner in town.
Analyze visuals pg. 323 Fear • human fear of the supernatural and the consequences of greed • the frightened figure on the horse • the black devil • fiery tone of the painting • lightning streaked sky
Imagery lines 341-345 Material Possessions• wealth and material possessions are of no use when you are dead• Those that pursue riches at all cost are at risk of losing their souls to greed.• Tom’s possessions turn to chips, shavings, cinders and skeletons
• In your opinion, is there any way Tom could have escaped the consequences of his deal with the Devil? Use evidence from the story and your own knowledge of human nature to support your answer.