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The Devil and Tom Walker: Mood to Theme Essay

In Washington Irving’s “The Devil and Tom Walker”, the imagery creates a dark and disturbing mood which shows the theme of how greed will make some people do whatever it takes to get what they desire. The language or words used to describe things such as settings, a character, or an event can help create a mood to help describe the theme.

The setting shows a dark and mysterious mood when it says, “The swamp was thickly grown with great gloomy pines and hemlocks, some of them ninety feet high, which made it dark at noonday, and a retreat for all the owls of the neighborhood.” This tells us that Tom Walker goes to the darkest part of the forest and there he finds the devil lurking. When Irving uses the words “swamp”, “thickly grown”, “gloomy pines and hemlocks”, and “dark at noonday”, it creates a dark and gloomy setting in which the story takes place.

When Tom is in the forest, he finds a skull with a tomahawk in it. The part of the text where it says, “It was a dreary memento of the fierce struggle that had taken place in this last foothold of the Indian warriors.”, it creates a sad and mysterious mood of the event that had taken place in that location sometime ago. The words, “dreary”, and “fierce” describe the event in a depressing way.

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When Tom Walker meets the devil, he glances up at him and sees his image. He is described to be dark and devilish when the text says, “but his face was neither black nor copper-color, but swarthy and dingy, and begrimed with soot, as if he had been accustomed to toil among fires and forges.” This shows him in a murky approach . Some of the key words are “dingy”, “begrimed”, “fires”, and “forges” which tells that the devil is covered with ash and is very dirty as if he had never been clean.

The examples of how imagery creates the mood for a story helps creates the theme because of the way the story is seen by the readers. In this story, it is about the devil and it tells the story in a dark and gloomy way. The theme of the story is how greed will make people do whatever it takes to get what they want and for Tom Walker, it is talking and making a deal with the evil, mischievous devil. Just the setting creates a dark and mysterious mood which gives a sense that talking with the devil is a bad thing and how greedy people can be when not caring about how bad it is.

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