Washington Irving’s short Gothic tale “The Devil and Tom Walker” (1824) is set in Massachusetts in the 1720s, a time in which Puritans believed the devil could be encountered like an actual person. This was a literal interpretation of several Biblical verses, such as Satan “going to and fro on earth, and walking up and down on it” (From the “Book of Job,” King James Version). Fittingly, the devil is one of the three main characters in Irving’s story and is defined both through direct and indirect characterization.
Direct characterization refers to the storytelling technique when we are told about a character’s traits up front. For instance, “Marie was a fiercely private person,” is direct characterization. On the other hand, indirect characterization allows us to make conclusions about a character's traits through showing us their behavior, such as in, “Marie guarded her journal with her life.” By using an omniscient or all-knowing narrator in “The Devil and Tom Walker
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