What are some quotes in 'The Devil and Tom Walker' that deal with romanticism?

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edcon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A characteristic of Romanticism is a rejection of organized religion. Tom Walker's conversion to vigorous Christianity in his schemes to cheat the devil shows off the worst of organized religion when Tom "talked of the expediency of reviving the persecution of Quakers and Anabaptists."

The incorporation of supernatural elements is commonly found in Romantic literature. The fact that the devil plays a prominent role in the story meets this criterion. When the devil makes himself known to him, Tom conjectures "you are he commonly called Old Scratch." The devil confirms Tom's surmise, answering "the same, at your service!"

Romantic literature is also characterized by an interest in the past. Though the story was published in the 1820s, Irving sets it during the colonial period, during the years of the Great Awakening. Tom is living near Boston at the tail end of the Puritan era, and the narrator describes it as "about the year 1727, just at the time that earthquakes were prevalent in New England, and shook many tall sinners down upon their knees"—referring to the (ultimately failed) Puritan revival movement.

Another example of Irving's interest in the past is his evocation of the legend of "a great amount of treasure buried by Kidd the pirate" in the swamp that Tom cuts through on his way home. William Kidd was a notorious seventeenth-century Scottish pirate.

James Kelley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The story seems to me in many ways to be anti-Romantic: the solitary man does not find solace or comfort when alone in nature, for example, and there is little interest in the character of the wife. Still, the story does have at least one aspect that is very much in keeping with Romanticism; the story (much like Irving's other stories, including "Rip Van Winkle") is essentially a transplantation of the European (or German) fairy tale onto American soil. Romanticism is the period of nation-building, particulary in younger and only recently unified or independent countries, such as Germany and the United States.

I haven't given you any quotations, I know -- and I apologize for that -- but I hope that these comments may be helpful to you nonetheless.

chirya | Student

romantics have bent of mind towards devil. they gave us a new interpretation of satan in literature like william Black , p.b. shelly. they showed us sympathy for satan by calling him a tragic hero... so in this context we can study'The Devil and Tom Walker' that deal with romanticism.

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The Devil and Tom Walker

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