Compare Hop Frog And The Devil And Tom Walker

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“A good [short story] would take me out of myself and then stuff me back in, outsized, now, and uneasy with the fit.” (Sedaris) Of the many works published in the 19th century, Hop-Frog by Edgar Allan Poe and The Devil and Tom Walker by Washington Irving are some of the most well known and thought provoking. Whereas Hop-Frog is a short story about a king, his seven ministers, and the king’s jester, Hop-Frog, who exacts his revenge in a gruesome and ghastly way, The Devil and Tom Walker consists of a greedy man who makes a deal with the devil in exchange for a lavish lifestyle. On a superficial level, these two short narratives may appear to have nothing in common, but upon a closer look, many parallels can be seen. The most explicit similarities …show more content…
Comparing Tom Walker to the King, on the other hand, offers many parallels. The king is greedy, selfish, and blind. This can be seen by his love of sumptuous parties and food, the fact that he believes the suffering of others to be a mere joke, and his thinking that he’s very clever when, in actuality, he was being manipulated by Hop-Frog. “But the king loved his practical jokes, and took pleasure in forcing Hop-Frog to drink and (as the king called it) ‘to be merry.’” (Poe) Showing no regard for the feelings of others, the King displayed his absolute lack of sympathy for those in a position that were politically lower than him. Tom Walker was also a greedy and selfish man -shown by his love of silver and treasure and his contentedness with the loss of his wife- but he was much more clever than the King. “Tom consoled himself for the loss of his property, with the loss of his wife, for he was a man of fortitude.” (Irving) Even having had no especially kind feelings towards his wife, the lack of regard for the safety and care of another human being revealed Tom Walker’s avaricious personality. Both characters were greedy and selfish, more concerned with money and comfort than the livelihood of others. The difference can be seen in that Tom Walker just wanted his money and silver, and the king wanted everything, including jokes at the expense …show more content…
In The Devil and Tom Walker, Tom Walker essentially sells his soul to the devil and then attempts to get out of it by turning to religion. “He thought with regret of the bargain he had made with his black friend, and set his wits to work to cheat him out of the conditions.” (Irving) Tom’s discontent with remaining at his current status or working his way up the ladder by honest ways led to the situation he bemoaned and attempted to work his way out of. Alternatively, in Hop-Frog, the main conflict is between Hop-Frog and the King. The King considers Hop-frog to be below him, which causes feelings of resentment and anger, leading to revenge. “Here, pretending to scrutinize the king more clearly, he held the flambeau to the flaxen coat which enveloped him, and which instantly burst into a sheet of vivid flame.” (Poe) The King’s cruelty to Hop-Frog and Trippetta was the root for discontentedness and the King’s eventual death by burning. Both victims in the stories are brought down by their own hand, and are the perpetrators of their own death. The difference between each conflict is that Tom Walker’s death and the King’s death, is that Tom’s was impersonal -just business- and the king’s was violent, an act of revenge. The conflicts directly correlates with the theme of each

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