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In "The Devil and Tom Walker" what kind of people do you think Tom Walker and his wife...

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lauralonso | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 11, 2010 at 8:47 AM via web

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In "The Devil and Tom Walker" what kind of people do you think Tom Walker and his wife are ?

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thewritingteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted October 11, 2010 at 9:15 AM (Answer #1)

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Washington Irving made sure that his protagonist in this tale was a miserable specimen of humanity. Usually in literature the protagonist is characterized as "the good guy," but this story is a shining example ofr how that isn't always the case.

Tom Walker and his wife are characterized as stingy, miserly, quarrelsome, and generally unlikeable. Mrs. Walker is bossy and crafty, hiding money from her husband while making sure she knows exactly what he does with his money. Tom Walker isn't any more pleasant. He allows his house and property to fall apart rather than spend money to maintain it, and even his animals would rather be somewhere else.

Their relationship was so dysfunctional that Tom refused the devils original offer because it might please Mrs. Walker. She, on the other hand, determined to cash in on the treasure no matter the cost.

Neither could be said to be a good neighbor, and in the end, they got what they deserved.

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