The Devil and Tom Walker Questions and Answers
by Washington Irving

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In "The Devil and Tom Walker," in what ways is this story a satire?

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It is important to realise that in this story, Irving is updating the traditional archetype concerning a man who makes a deal with the devil only to lose his soul in the end for the new America that he is a part of. A satire is a story that mocks some human folly, and as we read it becomes clear that Irving is mocking greed, stinginess, religious intolerance, spiritual hypocrisy and the inhumane treatment of others. He criticises the Puritans for their persecution of Quakers and Anabaptists, the Salem witch trials, and their practice of usury through the action in the novel. By far the clearest indication of this element of satire is the way that Irving makes it clear that the devil has been inextricably intertwined with these...

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