Tom agrees to think about it and returns home. The Devil and Tom Walker Summary. object, character, that represents a idea. As he turned up ... Devil and Tom Walker.” The story opens with the tale of how Captain Kidd, a pirate, buried some treasure in a swamp just outside... Main Characters. Lombardi, Esther. The devil's conditions are unknown. "'The Devil and Tom Walker' Study Guide." Tom Walker is the main character, Tom Walker seems to be a greedy, miserly and selfish man. The story is very similar to the German legend of Faust. He is described as "a meager miserly fellow" and is probably Irving's least likable character. A narrator , a fictional character named Geoffrey Crayon, begins the story. One day a ruined stock jobber (speculator) who had borrowed money from him asks for clemency and annoys Tom who says, "The Devil take me if I have made a farthing!" "The Devil and Tom Walker" is a short story by Washington Irving that first appeared in his 1824 collection Tales of a Traveller, as part of the "Money-Diggers" section. The devil in disguise tells Walker about the treasure, saying that he controls it but will give it to Tom for a price. In Tom Walker and the Devil. Our story today is, "The Devil and Tom Walker. " symbolism. Another of his short stories, "The Devil and Tom Walker," is not as well known, but it is definitely worth seeking out. One day, Tom takes a shortcut back to his house and comes across a fort. It then jumps to the year 1727, when New Englander Tom Walker happened to find himself walking through this swamp. Walker lends money freely, but he is merciless in his dealings and ruins the lives of many borrowers, often repossessing their property. The rest of the tale follows the twists and turns one might expect as a result of greed-driven decisions and deal-making with the devil. He tells us that, years ago, a few miles from Boston, Massachusetts, Kidd the Pirate buried a great amount of treasure. Laying out the potential moral consequences of greed: The community's state of mind regarding the death of Walker and his wife: Once students have had a chance to read this classic tale, test their knowledge with these study questions: Esther Lombardi, M.A., is a journalist who has covered books and literature for over twenty years. The Devil and Tom Walker is the story of the two titular characters: the money-grubbing Tom Walker, a cheap and stingy “miser,” who lives with his equally greedy, but more abusive wife, and the Devil, who in this story takes the form of a lumberjack, chopping wood in a deep swamp near an old Indian fortress left over from King Phillip’s war. Directed by Zachary Howell. After that, all the deeds and notes in Walker's safe turn to ash, and his house mysteriously burns down. Because Tom does not have a healthy respect and fear for the devil and his evil doings, he falls victim to Old Scratch's manipulation. Her voice was often heard in wordy warfare with her husband, and his face sometimes showed signs that their conflicts were not confined to words. Do you think the Walker family's financial situation plays a factor in their choices? Read the full text here. This is until he takes a walk in the swamp at an old Indian fortress (a relic of King Philip's War of 1675-1678), and starts up a conversation with the devil incarnate (referred to as "Old Scratch" and "the Black Man" in the story). He reposed himself for some time on the trunk of a fallen hemlock, listening to the boding cry of the tree toad, and delving with his walking staff into a mound of black mold at his feet. Lombardi, Esther. They lived in a tarnished looking house that had stood alone and had an air of starvation. In fact, Irving's piece triggered a rebirth of sorts for the Faustian tale. 1. Could the story have taken place anywhere else? Bolstered by the ill-gotten riches offered by Old Scratch, Walker opens a broker's office in Boston. The events of the story can be divided into two locations: The legend of a man who sells his soul to the devil and its devious consequences has been retold many times, but Irving's original words truly reveal the story. Describe the setting of the story and the legend people tell of this place. Tom Walker, however, was not a man to be troubled with any fears of the kind. It was written by Washington Irving. The short story “The Devil and Tom Walker” is a dark and eerie tale of a man’s unhealthy obsession that leads him to make a deal with the Devil. Walker's wife is such a minor character that her name is never given, but she can be likened to her husband in her miserly nature and volatile temper. How does greed factor into this story? Tom Walker is the protagonist of the story. Learn how and when to remove this template message. ", Old Scratch is another name for the devil. However, despite his many unsavory characteristics, he is memorable. 'The Devil and Tom Walker' Study Guide Historical Context. How essential is the setting to the story? On one side of this inlet is a beautiful dark grove; on the opposite side the land rises abruptly from the water's edge into a high ridge, on … How could Tom Walker be said to have made a Faustian bargain? Although he believes he can change his fate by repenting his sins, in the end, the devil takes his due. "The Devil and Tom Walker" was first published in 1824 among a collection of short stories called "Tales of a Traveller," which Irving wrote under pseudonym Geoffrey Crayon. The story is very similar to the German legend of Faust. The title, "The Devil and Tom Walker," refers to the central subject of the short story, the relationship between the two main characters: the devil and a man named Tom Walker. Romanticism within literature stretched the inner feelings of characters and challenged them to change their pasts. Tom's wife absconds with all of the couple's valuables for the second meeting, but she disappears into the swamplands and is never heard from again. The actions of Old Scratch are similar to other Faustian tales in that he is the tempter who offers the protagonist riches or other gains in exchange for their soul. Why or why not? Romanticism was an artistic movement in the 19th century that promoted individuality, emotion, love and nature. She goes into the swamplands twice, hoping that Old Scratch would make a deal with her instead of her husband. Old Scratch tosses Tom Walker on the back of a black horse which rides toward the old fortress and disappears in lightning. The story first recounts the legend of the pirate, William Kidd, who is rumored to have buried a large treasure in a forest in colonial Massachusetts. Comment; Complaint; Link; Know the Answer? Knowing how to teach the Devil and Tom Walker in a manner conducive to teaching students financial literacy will provide lasting benefits for all. Lombardi, Esther. Washington Irving, one of early America's greatest storytellers, was the author of such beloved works as "Rip Van Winkle" (1819) and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (1820). Does the story end the way you expected? Stephen Vincent Benét drew much of his inspiration for "The Devil and Daniel Webster" from this tale. Compare and contrast Tom Walker with Scrooge in ", Is Tom Walker consistent in his actions? Tom meets the devil, Old Scratch, at an abandoned Indian fort hidden away in the swamplands. Becoming a member of the local stock exchange, Tom buys a big house and a coach but furnishes neither, even though he has the money (he is so miserly that he even half-starves his horses). What are some themes in the story? ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience and for our. After the character finds his wife’s organs lying in the forest, he decides to complete the pact with … Here are links to our lists for other works by Washington Irving: Rip Van Winkle, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow They take place—really drive the overarching theme of the story: avarice and its consequences the ill-gotten riches by..., easily sweeps Tom up, and ends up lending money at interest... About the treasure, saying that he controls it but will give it Tom. A wealthy seaman rumored to be a greedy, selfish miser of a wealthy seaman rumored to be pirate! The deeds and notes in Walker 's business flourishes England saying, tom walker and the devil the Devil … in Walker. 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