The Devil and Tom Walker Questions and Answers
by Washington Irving

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Explain the Dark Romanticism in "The Devil and Tom Walker."

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Dark Romanticism is a form of literature that uses the mysterious and dark settings characteristic of Romanticism as a whole in ways that are often threatening and scary. Dark Romantic settings are Gothic in nature--that is, they involve the use of horror and are threatening in nature. Dark Romanticism also seeks to expose the darkness or sins inherent in all humans.

"The Devil and Tom Walker" contains elements of Dark Romanticism, as the setting of the story is a threatening place described as "a thickly wooded swamp, or morass" where the devil himself reigns. The setting is gloomy and isolated, and there Tom Walker lives in isolation, as "no traveler stopped at its door." Instead, Tom's house is steeped in darkness and mystery, and the swamp nearby ruled by the darkness of nature:

"The swamp was...a retreat for all the owls of the neighborhood. It was full of pits and quagmires, partly covered with weeds and mosses; where the green surface often betrayed the traveler into a gulf of black...

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