Like Deacon Peabody, Absalom Crowninshield is an embodiment of earthly success and spiritual failure: he is ostentatiously rich from exploitative buccaneering, respected in Boston as a pious man, but doomed to damnation for his sins nonetheless. Tom Walker sits on a fallen tree bearing Crowninshield’s last name in the swamp while conversing with Old Scratch, and learns from his wife soon thereafter that Absalom is dead, presumably to fuel the devil’s forge and fire. Crowninshield’s fiery fate foreshadows Tom’s own.
The timeline below shows where the character Absalom Crowninshield appears in The Devil and Tom Walker. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
“The Devil and Tom Walker”
...bears the name of Crowninshield; Tom recollects a man of that name (later identified as Absalom), mighty and vulgarly rich from buccaneering, as rumor has it. “‘He’s just ready for the... (full context)
...burnt into his forehead. His wife’s first news for him is that the rich buccaneer Absalom Crowninshield has suddenly died: “‘a great man had fallen in Israel,’” as the newspapers announced... (full context)