Moral Allegory: A ethical allegory conveys a moral message through symbolic figures, imagery, and also plots that give moral retribution to immoral characters. “The Devil and Tom Walker” contains a moral allegory that supplies a warning against greed and also the search of earthly gain. In this story, sinful behavior is met with punishment, and also the evil one controls the souls of those pushed by wealth.

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Moral Corruption: Tom Walker and also his mam embody ethical corruption, greed, and hypocritical religion. They room both ready to sacrifice the various other for product gain. Tom manipulates his friendships with others to take benefit of castle in his business, and he provides false faith to appear like one upstanding citizen. Tom and also his mam both endure retribution in ~ the hand of the devil, emphasizing the story’s layout that ethical corruption end in punishment and also damnation.

Social Commentary: Irving’s story makes strong social commentary against the slave trade and religious persecution. Even Tom, a character driven by greed and self interest, will not engage in the slave trade. This is a strong condemnation the the college of slavery. Religious persecution the Anabaptists and also Quakers is presented as satisfaction to the devil, arguing that squabbles amongst sects of Christianity offer the devil, not the community.


Themes instances in The Devil and also Tom Walker:


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"Let every gripping money-brokers put this story to heart...." view in text(Text the the Story)


Irving composed this story in the layout of a folktale, and also these types of stories are usually allegories that symbolize larger problems of human nature. Tom"s pact with the devil, his sinful actions, and also his spiritual hypocrisy, every reveal how Irving trust such actions will be punished, and also he has his narrator end the tale with an proper warning.


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"into the black hemlock swamp towards the old Indian fort..." watch in text(Text the the Story)


The old Indian ft is not only where Tom very first made a address the devil but is also the gateway to hell. Irving is likely suggesting that sinful behavior always comes full circle and also ends in punishment.


"his large Bible on the desk hidden under the mortgage he was about to foreclose..." see in text(Text of the Story)


Simply having actually the Bible about the home doesn"t help hypocrites prefer Tom once the evil one comes knocking in ~ his door. Irving records this idea perfectly by having the scriptures buried under the land jobber"s mortgage the Tom is around to foreclose, revealing Tom"s genuine priorities.


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"for whom he had professed the best friendship..." see in text(Text of the Story)


One of the reasons Tom has been so reliable at driving human being into unavoidable debt is the he pretends to be their friends and have their best interests at heart. While the land jobber and others room not completely blameless in your attempts to get rich quickly, Tom has actively manipulated his relationships with others to maximize his profits.


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"everyone driven to advanced money by desperate means..." see in text(Text of the Story)


Irving reflects that Tom and also his wife space not the only human being in the area who space greedy. In fact, it seems that numerous in brand-new England are looking for ways to get rich rapid regardless that the ethical cost. The resulting financial depression provides people more desperate for money, which works in Tom"s favor. He"s maybe to loan money in ~ even much more exorbitant rates due to the fact that people room willing to attend to him also on bad terms.


"but the devil himself could not tempt that to revolve slave-trader...." watch in text(Text of the Story)


Even despite Tom appears to no have any kind of moral qualms around dealing through the devil out that greed, he refuses to interact in the servant trade. This suggests just just how morally outrageous and also awful together a profession is, and also it is one of the story"s most noticeable moral accusations. Interestingly, Tom"s refusal here is also his just act of grace in the tale.


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"The most current and probable story..." check out in text(Text that the Story)


The narrator supplies several various versions of what possibly occurred to Tom"s wife. A couple of these have no ethical lesson connected with them, but notice how the one that chooses has actually the most significant moralistic blog post of all: the punishment for greed and dealing through the evil one is damnation. This is an instance of just how the narrator is utilizing the storytelling medium to relay messages about moral lessons come the readers.


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


Tom"s wife is perfectly content to allow her husband to sacrifice self for the services of financial gain, and also she pressure him to perform it. This willingness come let her husband damn self represents a complete lack of problem for morals or spiritual well-being and reinforces the threats of greed and moral corruption.


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


Readers acquainted with a Faustian bargain and/or church doctrine recognize that the just possession the the devil frequently wants to barter for are human souls. It"s possible that the narrator doesn"t say this explicitly due to the fact that the an extremely thought of someone gift so greedy that he"d market his soul for endowment or material gain is also horrific.


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


Since the Quakers and also Anabaptists are particularly strict sects that Christianity, the adversary would discover it amusing to watch these teams persecuted by other Christians because they would certainly be some of the least likely to commit sinful offenses. The devil"s pleasure at this persecution emphasizes just how hypocritical the plot of Christians against one an additional are, since they only serve the devil"s angry will fairly than the great of the community.


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


The idea behind this declare (and, perhaps, the story itself) is the ownership is one illusion. Only the devil truly possesses these things in the physical world, and he provides them to tempt people to eternal damnation, choose he"s done through Peabody and Crowninshield. The devil"s swamp reflects the ethical corruption of society"s leaders and also foreshadows their damnation. The reality that countless of the surname on the tree are powerful figures reinforces the concept that power and wealth invariably leads to moral corruption.


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


While Deacon Peabody might own the physical swamp, it"s clear the the evil one has spiritual ownership of the accursed grounds. The evil one reveals the Deacon Peabody actually belongs come the devil because of exactly how he hypocritically scrutinizes his neighbors’ sins and also doesn"t look after his own. The tree v Peabody"s name on it demonstrates how on the external the male might show up successful if on the within he is rotten and 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 very violent expression of human greed since it is often committed for the desire that another"s material possessions. The existence of the fort attests to how war (and thus greed) eventually results in nothing but ruin and also loss.


"he always does with buried treasure, an especially when it has been ill-gotten...." check out in text(Text of the Story)


Irving presents among his themes with the devil"s existence at the burying that Kidd"s treasure: greed and also the moral harm it causes. Through saying that the adversary is constantly guarding money, specifically stolen money, Irving offers the devil to show how temptation and also greed ruin the stays of those who seek wealth above all else.


"The good people the Boston shook their heads and also shrugged your shoulders..." view in text(Text the the Story)


Even despite Tom was lugged off by the devil in a spectacular way, the Bostonians don"t seem to react an extremely strongly to this event. Irving is most likely suggesting, with a little of dark humor and also satire, that also in this city of Puritan Christians, handling the devil is no altogether an unusual occurrence and there are numerous sinful and also hypocritical human being in this society.


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"Old Scratch have to have had actually a tough time that it!"..." watch in text(Text that the Story)


The reality that Tom"s shrewish mam was so vicious through the devil, and the fact that Tom somewhat pities "Old Scratch," shows just how Irving not only offers the story to administer moral instruction, however he also believes the by including humor, literature have the right to be ethically instructive and entertaining in ~ the very same time.


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"and every portable short article of value...." watch in text(Text that the Story)


The adversary has Tom’s wife sacrifice the things that room of the greatest value to her: the household’s silver and other an important items. In an additional darkly humorous instance of greed corrupting one"s morals, Tom cares no for his wife"s well-being and also misses the silver far much more than his wife.


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"Absalom Crowninshield, the rich buccaneer...." see in text(Text that the Story)


Ironically, these people in this story that gain the devil"s note are not outcasts however leaders the society, which suggests how spiritually corrupt society is. The actually sinful Absalom Crowninshield to be praised as a pious guy at the moment of his fatality despite his vulgar display screens of the wide range that he got through disreputable means.


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"that the savages hosted incantations here and also made sacrifices..." view in text(Text the the Story)


The idea that the American Indians worship the devil conforms come the racism perception of aboriginal Americans once the story was written. However, it is worth noting that the story depicts europe Americans as evil one worshippers since they action on your greed and also corrupt themselves. Native this perspective, it"s clear the the colonists are no an ext moral than the aboriginal Americans; they space simply better about lying to themselves about their own immorality.


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"there was a good amount of treasure..." see in text(Text the the Story)


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


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


Irving has Tom pedestrian take a shortcut to comment on cheating or seek the quickest method to wealth—providing an additional example of just how Tom is for this reason greedy that he cut corners for his own obtain when rather wouldn"t. The shortcut in the swamp symbolizes these shortcuts people shot to use to obtain ahead in the world. However, such paths regularly contain risks and also complications, in this situation not only economic ones, however perhaps people that bring about eternal damnation.

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