The Devil and Tom Walker

Effect and the exposition

What effect is created by begining with the story of Kidd the pirate? Why include this in the exposition? What else is included in the exposition?

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The story of Kidd sets provides us with background information and sets the plot. The story takes place a few miles from Boston, Massachusetts, inland from the Charles Bay. A fictional narrator of Irving's creation, his persona named Geoffrey Crayon, tells us the story of Kidd the Pirate, who brought a large sum of money ashore here to bury in a swamp. According to these old stories, the devil presided at the burial of the treasure, and took it under his protection until Kidd returned someday to reclaim it. But Kidd never returned; soon after he was seized in Boston and sent to England to be hanged for a pirate.

The first part of this story establishes the setting, introduces us to our main characters, and provides the inciting incident that will lead into the rest of the story. The initial description of Tom Walker focuses heavily on his miserly tendencies, which indicates right off the bat that these are what will cause trouble for him. The negative relationship between he and his wife is an important factor of their characterization as well, as it shows that Tom is not satisfied with his current life situation and, naturally, will seek something greater when the opportunity arises.