What are the various names given to the stranger in the woods?  

1 Answer | Add Yours

mperez-mugg21's profile pic

mperez-mugg21 | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Throughout the story "The Devil and Tom Walker" a variety of different names and descriptions are used to refer to the devil. For example, when he is introducing himself to Tom Walker, the devil refers to himself as the "Wild Huntsman," the "Black Hunter," and the "Black Woodsman." He also gives himself two titles during the conversation, calling himself "the great patron and prompter of slave dealers" and "the grand master of the Salem witches." Interestingly enough, although the devil uses a great many different names for himself, Tom Walker only ever uses one name to refer to the devil, "Old Scratch." This choice is interesting because the use of the name "Old Scratch" is heavily associated with US English. In using "Old Scratch," Washington Irving demonstrates his great interest in the history, culture, and vernacular of the United States and his belief in its literary value.  In contrast, the devil's preferred names are more suggestive of the his association with darkness and the particular trades that Irving finds most evil or disgraceful (those participating in witchcraft and slave dealers).

We’ve answered 318,957 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question