Tom Walker Theme Essay Example
Tom Walker Theme Essay Example

Tom Walker Theme Essay Example

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Theme of The Devil and Tom Walker In Washington Irving’s short story The Devil and Tom Walker, greed is shown to be a terrible trait that comes with many negative affects. Revealed by Irving when he introduced the setting, Tom Walker lived a miserable life isolated with his untrustworthy wife due to his miserly personality, and by this Irving was showing that living a life of greed will ultimately lead to misery.

When decisions are being made based on greed and self benefit it will alter one thinking process and help you to make harmful and unintelligent decisions, as shown by Irving represented by greed based decisions both Tom and his wife made. Irvin also illustrated that you can be overwhelmed by greed and it can metaphorically turn you into a monster or a fiend. Overall, Irving tried to


demonstrate in his short story that if one’s life in run by greed it will lead a misery and eventually to their downfall. Greed and misery are two nouns that come hand in hand.

In The Devil and Tom Walker, Tom Walker and his wife were both very miserly beings. They had stingy and quarrelsome personalities and had tendencies to horde objects and money. The two lived distant from others and like to stay isolated(243). They were in essence human representations of the word “greedy”. Though they were married and very alike they actually despised each other. They would get in arguments and had a lack of trust. The lack was so immense that they would even horde valuables from each other(243). The greed caused them to be miserable together and live a depressing life together.

The greed was

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so bad that when Tom’s wife went missing along with some valuables he cared more about the missing object than his wife’s wellbeing. When he found the objects wrapped inside her apron on a tree Tom said, “let us get hold of the property and we will endeavor to do without the women. ” This proved how far Tom’s greed actually went and what it can do to a person. He was so miserable with his wife that he did not even care that she remained missing. This is a prime example of how miserable greed can actually make you.

Greed can also be the reason for idiotic and irrational decisions. It influences one’s decisions and could lead to their downfall. One example Irving gave was Tom’s choice to make a deal with the devil. The “black man” told Tom about the hidden gold that was buried in the woods, and a deal Tom could make to get this gold(246). At first Tom rejected the offer due to the fact that he would have to split this fortune with his wife, but after his wife’s disappearance he went back to search for the devil. When he found the devil the terms for the deal were negotiated.

Tom would have to trade his soul and open a broker shop in exchanger for the money(248-249). This is where Tom’s greed made him irrational and influenced him to make a bad decision. He made the deal, not thinking of the others he would have to hurt in the broker business and without consideration that his soul will then belong to the devil. Greed made Tom not think rationally and make

a decision that would lead to his downfall in the near future. The other example Irvin gave was a greed-based decision that Tom’s wife made the ultimately led to her death.

After Tom’s first encounter with the devil he came home and told his wife about his experience and the offer the devil made. Tom’s wife was all for it but Tom did not want to accept his the offer(246). Her greed came into play when she decided that she would steal some valuables and go out and make the deal herself. This greedy decision was the cause of her downfall cause she was never seen again (it was assumed in the story that she was killed). Decisions based on greed are not logical and are never a beneficial choice.

Another effect greed can have on a person is turning them into a fiend. One greedy choice can lead to another and one can be consumed in their own greed. In the story Tom made the trade with the devil, and even though he more money than a man can ever want her still goes into business as a broker. He has a plethora off money but still rips of the poor and uses them to make more money for himself(249-252). Tom ruined many lives just to make himself a tiny bit more wealthy. His first greedy decision lead to the next and he was negatively effecting many just for self benefit.

This example in Irvin’s story was a superb case in point of how one greedy decision can have a snowball effect end up hurting many people. Washington Irvin shows the effects of greed in many different

ways in this short story. Greedy actions and behaviors can make life for someone miserable just like it made Tom’s. Irvin also showed that greed can effect decisions by making you think irrationally. Greed does not only hurt the person making the greedy choices but it affects people around them. Furthermore, greed can lead to more greed making one a fiend. In the end greed will lead to pain, misery, death, or one’s downfall.

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