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What is the "bargain" in "The Devil and Tom Walker"?  

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kahlial2008 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 17, 2009 at 11:08 AM via web

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What is the "bargain" in "The Devil and Tom Walker"?

 

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 17, 2009 at 11:53 AM (Answer #1)

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The "bargain" is what many call a Faustian pact. This takes its name from several version of the story of Faust, a man who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for riches in this life. The story line is similar to Christopher Marlow's "Dr. Faustus" to Goethe's "Faust". It can also be seen in many other stories, from Stephen Vincent Benet's "The Devil and Daniel Webster" to the musical "Damned Yankees" and even to Darth Vader's decision to embrace the "dark side." In "The Devil and Tom Walker", Walker refuses the devil's first "bargain" because he doesn't want to share his money with his wife. However, after his wife is killed, Tom makes a deal with the devil and earns great wealth. However, as in most Faustian stories, Tom eventually regrets his "bargain" and tries to get out of it, but to no avail.

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