Tom Walker Essay (Short)


It was once said by Luke Dickens, that “The Devil tricks us into hell using own vices”, this seems to be very logical. This quote is portrayed very well is the story “The Devil and Tom Walker” by Washington Irving. In this quote, the Devil uses our moral weaknesses (or vices) to get us into what is ultimately hell. In this story the protagonist is Tom Walker and is shown to be a selfish and greedy man willing to do anything to gain wealth, riches, and fame. A fine example of this is, out of greed, Tom pledged both himself and his morals to the devil for the sake of riches and wealth. He could have chosen a more noble way of achieving these goals but while making himself big because of this, disappointment haunted Tom in the end. Furthermore, I agree with this quote because it is normally easier and sometimes more rewarding to follow the wrong path which can appear to be more enticing.

The roots of Tom’s selfishness were very apparent in his home. Tom loved looking out for himself so much that he is described in the story as a “miserly fellow…he had a wife as miserly as himself; they were so miserly that they even conspired to cheat each other.” Tom, so completely in love with himself, had kept everything to himself to the point where his wife felt the need to steal behind his back and faced his fury over this. Also, Tom had a “miserable” horse that Tom was too cheap to feed. The whole town seemed to know about this and Tom indulged in a bad reputation. This disturbing habit soon infected his work, also. In support of the quote, while creating for himself a good name, he squeezed the debtors until every penny dropped into his own account. In the story “Tom was the universal friend to the needy, and acted like ‘a friend in need’; that is to say he always exacted good pay and security.” While his greed for wealth caused him to cheat others out of money and keep it for himself.

There are several examples of symbolism in this story. An example of this is...