Moral Allegory: A moral allegory conveys a ethical message v symbolic figures, imagery, and plots that provide moral retribution to immoral characters. “The Devil and Tom Walker” contains a moral allegory that uses a warning versus greed and also the pursuit of earthly gain. In this story, sinful actions is met with punishment, and also the evil one controls the souls of those moved by wealth.

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Moral Corruption: Tom Walker and his wife embody ethical corruption, greed, and hypocritical religion. They are both ready to sacrifice the other for material gain. Tom manipulates his friendships v others come take benefit of lock in his business, and he offers false faith to appear like an upstanding citizen. Tom and also his wife both suffer retribution at the hands of the devil, emphasizing the story’s theme that moral corruption ends in punishment and also damnation.

Social Commentary: Irving’s story makes solid social commentary against the slave trade and religious persecution. Also Tom, a character driven by greed and also self interest, will not engage in the servant trade. This is a strong condemnation of the institution of slavery. Religious persecution of Anabaptists and also Quakers is displayed as pleasing to the devil, saying that squabbles among sects of Christianity offer the devil, not the community.


Themes examples in The Devil and also Tom Walker:


message of the Story 🔒 21

"Let all gripping money-brokers place this story to heart...." see in text(Text the the Story)


Irving wrote this story in the format of a folktale, and these types of stories are usually allegories that signify larger conditions of human being nature. Tom"s pact with the devil, his sinful actions, and also his spiritual hypocrisy, every reveal exactly how Irving trust such habits will be punished, and he has his narrator end the story with an suitable warning.


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"into the black hemlock swamp toward the old Indian fort..." check out in text(Text that the Story)


The old Indian fort is not just where Tom first made a deal with the devil but is additionally the gateway to hell. Irving is likely arguing that sinful behavior always comes complete circle and ends in punishment.


"his big Bible top top the desk buried under the mortgage the was about to foreclose..." watch in text(Text of the Story)


Simply having actually the Bible about the residence doesn"t aid hypocrites like Tom as soon as the adversary comes knocking at his door. Irving captures this idea perfectly by having the scriptures buried under the land jobber"s mortgage that Tom is around to foreclose, revealing Tom"s actual priorities.


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"for whom he had actually professed the greatest friendship..." check out in text(Text of the Story)


One that the factors Tom has actually been so efficient at driving people into inescapable debt is that he pretends come be their friends and also have their best interests at heart. If the soil jobber and also others space not entirely blameless in their attempts to obtain rich quickly, Tom has actively manipulated his relationships with others to maximize his profits.


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"everyone thrust to raise money by desperate means..." see in text(Text the the Story)


Irving reflects that Tom and also his wife space not the only civilization in the area who room greedy. In fact, it seems that plenty of in brand-new England are in search of ways to acquire rich fast regardless the the moral cost. The resulting economic depression provides people an ext desperate for money, which works in Tom"s favor. He"s able to loan money in ~ even an ext exorbitant rates due to the fact that people space willing to resolve him also on bad terms.


"but the devil himself can not tempt him to revolve slave-trader...." see in text(Text that the Story)


Even though Tom appears to no have any kind of moral qualms around dealing through the devil out the greed, that refuses to interact in the servant trade. This says just just how morally outrageous and awful such a job is, and it is one of the story"s most noticeable moral accusations. Interestingly, Tom"s refusal here is likewise his only act of elegant in the tale.


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"The many current and also probable story..." view in text(Text that the Story)


The narrator provides several different versions of what possibly happened to Tom"s wife. A couple of these have actually no ethical lesson associated with them, but notice how the one he chooses has the most influential moralistic message of all: the punishment because that greed and dealing v the evil one is damnation. This is an example of how the narrator is using the storytelling medium to relay messages about moral lessons come the readers.


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"she urged her husband come comply..." view in text(Text that the Story)


Tom"s wife is perfectly contents to allow her husband to sacrifice himself for the sake of financial gain, and she pressures him to carry out it. This willingness come let she husband damn self represents a complete lack of concern for morals or spirituality well-being and also reinforces the threats of greed and moral corruption.


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"What these problems were may be easily surmised..." see in text(Text that the Story)


Readers acquainted with a Faustian bargain and/or church doctrine know that the just possession that the devil generally wants to barter for are person souls. It"s feasible that the narrator doesn"t to speak this explicitly due to the fact that the very thought of someone gift so greedy the he"d sell his soul for endowment or material gain is also horrific.


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"I entertain myself through presiding in ~ the persecutions..." watch in text(Text that the Story)


Since the Quakers and Anabaptists are particularly strict sects that Christianity, the devil would discover it amusing to see these groups persecuted by various other Christians due to the fact that they would certainly be several of the least likely to commit sinful offenses. The devil"s satisfied at this persecution emphasizes just how hypocritical the actions of Christians versus one another are, due to the fact that they just serve the devil"s evil will fairly than the an excellent of the community.


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"The best of a front claim..." view in text(Text of the Story)


The idea behind this declare (and, perhaps, the story itself) is the ownership is one illusion. Just the adversary truly own these points in the physics world, and he offers them come tempt humans to eternal damnation, favor he"s done through Peabody and Crowninshield. The devil"s swamp mirrors the ethical corruption the society"s leaders and also foreshadows their damnation. The truth that countless of the name on the tree are an effective figures reinforces the id that power and also wealth invariably leader to moral corruption.


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"Deacon Peabody it is in damned..." view in text(Text that the Story)


While Deacon Peabody may own the physical swamp, it"s clear the the adversary has spiritual property of the accursed grounds. The devil reveals the Deacon Peabody in reality belongs to the devil due to the fact that of how he hypocritically scrutinizes his neighbors’ sins and doesn"t watch after his own. The tree v Peabody"s surname on it demonstrates just how on the external the male might appear successful when on the inside he is rotten and also corrupt.


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"place in this critical foothold of the Indian warriors...." check out in text(Text of the Story)


War is a an extremely violent expression of human greed due to the fact that it is frequently committed for the desire the another"s material possessions. The visibility of the ft attests to how war (and therefore greed) ultimately results in nothing yet ruin and loss.


"he always does with hidden treasure, particularly when it has actually been ill-gotten...." watch in text(Text of the Story)


Irving presents among his themes v the devil"s presence at the burying the Kidd"s treasure: greed and also the moral harm it causes. By saying that the adversary is constantly guarding money, particularly stolen money, Irving supplies the devil to present how temptation and also greed destroy the stays of those who look for wealth above all else.


"The an excellent people of Boston shook their heads and shrugged their shoulders..." see in text(Text that the Story)


Even despite Tom was lugged off through the evil one in a spectacular way, the Bostonians don"t seem come react an extremely strongly come this event. Irving is most likely suggesting, through a bit of dark humor and also satire, that also in this town of Puritan Christians, dealing with the adversary is not altogether an unusual occurrence and there are many sinful and hypocritical people in this society.


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"Old Scratch need to have had actually a challenging time the it!"..." check out in text(Text the the Story)


The fact that Tom"s shrewish wife was therefore vicious through the devil, and the fact that Tom rather pities "Old Scratch," shows how Irving not only offers the story to provide moral instruction, however he likewise believes the by including humor, literature can be morally instructive and entertaining at the very same time.


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"and every portable write-up of value...." see in text(Text the the Story)


The evil one has Tom’s wife sacrifice the points that are of the greatest value come her: the household’s silver and also other an important items. In another darkly humorous example of greed corrupting one"s morals, Tom cares not for his wife"s well-being and misses the silver far much more than his wife.


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"Absalom Crowninshield, the well-off buccaneer...." see in text(Text that the Story)


Ironically, these world in this story that gain the devil"s mark are not outcasts yet leaders that society, which says how spiritually corrupt society is. The actually sinful Absalom Crowninshield was praised together a pious guy at the time of his death despite his vulgar displays of the wide range that he gained through disreputable means.


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"that the savages organized incantations here and made sacrifices..." watch in text(Text the the Story)


The idea the the American Indians prayer the adversary conforms to the racist perception of indigenous Americans as soon as the story was written. However, that is precious noting that the story depicts europe Americans as devil worshippers due to the fact that they act on your greed and also corrupt themselves. From this perspective, it"s clear the the homesteaders are no an ext moral 보다 the indigenous Americans; they are simply much better about lying to themselves around their own immorality.


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"there was a great amount of treasure..." view in text(Text that the Story)


The summary of the inlet and swamp and the inclusion of the devil introduce the story"s themes of moral corruption and greed while concurrently helping create a dark and also mysterious tone because that the story. The swamp is dark and dangerous, but it additionally has a seductive allure v the promise the wealth and also hidden treasure.


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"Like many short-cuts, it to be an ill-chosen route..." watch in text(Text the the Story)


Irving has Tom pedestrian take a shortcut to discuss cheating or seeking the quickest method to wealth—providing an additional example of exactly how Tom is for this reason greedy that he cuts corners because that his own gain when rather wouldn"t. The shortcut in the swamp symbolizes these shortcuts people shot to usage to gain ahead in the world. However, together paths regularly contain risks and complications, in this case not only economic ones, yet perhaps persons that lead to eternal damnation.

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