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Where is a metaphor in "The Devil and Tom Walker" ?

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zumies | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 25, 2008 at 1:08 AM via web

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Where is a metaphor in "The Devil and Tom Walker" ?

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engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted October 25, 2008 at 2:17 AM (Answer #1)

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Perhaps what you are seeking here is a "physical" metaphor. For instance, the trees that the devil is chopping down are all very impressive on their outsides, but rotten on the inside. This "rottenness" is a metaphor for the big-shot men of the town itself: They are all very flashy outwardly, but inwardly, they are "rotten" or evil. This type of symbolism was very popular during the time of Irving, Hawthorne, and Poe.

Another metaphor occurs at the end, when Tom's horses become skeletons, his riches turn to wood chips and shavings, and his house burns. The symbolism, or metaphor, that is seen here is the ruin and decimation of Tom's life itself. All that is left is worthless. 

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 25, 2008 at 4:28 AM (Answer #2)

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How's this?
"Tom's wife was a tall termagant."
A termagant is "a violent, turbulent, or brawling woman.
or
When Tom sticks his walking stick into the ground he finds a human skull with an Indian tomahawk buried in it. One sentence later, Irving writes, "It [the skull imbedded with the tomahawk] was a dreary momento . . ."
or
The devil says to Tom " I am the wild huntsman in some countries; the black miner in others."

There is also a simile, which is a form metaphor:
Tom is described as pick his way through the forest "like a cat."

Another example is simile and personification, also a form of metaphor:
"He [Tom] arrived at a firm piece of ground. . .like a peninsula into the deep bosom of the swamp."

Hope these help.

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zumies | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 25, 2008 at 2:30 AM (Answer #4)

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im looking for an exact quote from the story.

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