The Devil and Tom Walker Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 37 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Devil and Tom Walker.
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Greed

Greed is one of the most important themes of " "The Devil and Tom Walker" Tom is approached by Old Scratch and offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. Initially, Tom is so greedy that he declines because he would have to share the fortune with his wife. Eventually, however, Tom is duped by the false kindness of Old Scratch and blinded by his own greed. As Irving writes, Tom "was not a man to stick at trifles when money was in view." Once established as a moneylender in Boston, Tom is described ironically as a "universal friend of the needy," even though "In proportion to the distress of the applicant was the hardness of his terms." Though he becomes wealthy, Tom still remains parsimonious: he refuses to furnish his mansion or feed his horses properly. Still, he denies his greed. When accused by a customer of taking advantage of...

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This section contains 526 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Short Stories for Students
The Devil and Tom Walker from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.