Steven Neale 1/18/00
The Devil and Tom Walker by Washington Irving, The Ministers Black Veil, by Hawthorne, and The Crucible, by Arthur Miller all share similar themes and they all use different genres and forms to help express the storys theme. The three stories all comment on Puritan beliefs and the nature of man, and they deal with the fear of the unknown and not wanting to face the truths. The Devil and Tom Walker is a folk tale, which uses satire to describe Puritan beliefs. The Ministers Black Veil is a parable and an allegory, where the people and objects in the story all symbolize something. The Crucible is a historical drama, which deals with Puritan beliefs directly and in a serious matter.
The Devil and Tom Walker is a folk tale which teaches a lesson and uses stock characters. The idea of stock characters is present in the character of Tom, meaning he never undergoes any change throughout the story. This story uses a lot of imagery and alliteration to help describe the forest and Toms house.For example, when Tom is walking through the woods, it is described, as a place that is “dark at noonday” and “the swamp was thickly grown with great gloomy pines and hemlocks.” The author gives a dark mood to the story by using so much imagery with the forest. When Tom makes the deal with the Devil and begins to make money and not care about anything else, the author is mocking society and its obsession with material things like money. Tom doesnt even care when he finds out his wife was killed by the Devil, he even makes a joke saying she probably gave him a good fight.The story takes place just outside of Boston in the woods and it also deals with the presence of the Devil, which shows its relationship with the Crucible.
Tom is also recognized as a violent churchgoer and he only goes to church for his benefit, he is only looking for protection from the Devil. Ironically just before the Devil comes to take Tom he was foreclosing on a mans house, who said, You made so much money out of me, and Tom responds, The Devil take me if I have made a farthing. Also when Tom seeks his bibles for protection from the Devil he is unable to retrieve both of them, so he gained no protection from God, and the Devil he made a deal with took him to hell. Irving is saying some people become so concerned with acquiring money and power that they forget to be compassionate with other people. Irving uses examples of hyperbole and writes using satire to get his point across that society is obsessed with money. He also creates a dark, gloomy feeling throughout the story just like in The Ministers Black Veil.
The ministers Black Veil is a parable, meaning it illustrates a lesson and it is also an allegorical story. The way Hawthorne chooses to tell the story is very important. He tells it in third person limited, through the eyes of the parishioners.In doing so we never find out the truth about the veil and it becomes a mystery to everyone around him. The main symbol in the story is the veil, which represents death and darkness. Also the veil symbolizes the secret of sin.At one point he even says, If I hide my face for sorrow, there is cause enough, and if I cover it for secret of sin, what moral might not do the same.The veil basically ends his life, his love left him for it and many others feel uncomfortable around him with it on.The veil also is the antagonist of the story because it creates change among the parishioners, who are the protagonists. The veil is unknown to the town and even the reader, which brings up the point of the fear of the unknown and the nature of man. The story also presents the idea of isolation, Mr. Hooper is isolated because he is different that everyone else, similar to John Proctor in The Crucible.
The Crucible is a historical story dealing with