In "The Devil and Tom Walker", what were some of Tom's private thoughts?

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caledon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Despite the narrator being omniscient, we don't hear many of Tom's private thoughts. This is probably because they aren't very interesting, complicated or unexpected, seeing as Tom's behavior is largely dictated by his greed, making him a linear and one-dimensional character whose only surprises come from how low he is, or isn't, willing to stoop.

The only time in the story where Tom's personal thoughts are clearly relevant to the narrative have to do with his wife and how she reacts to his story of meeting the Devil and arranging to trade his soul for the treasure. It is mentioned that Tom's spite for her is so great that he decides not to go forward with the bargain just to avoid doing something that will make her happy. 

Later, after Tom's wife has disappeared following her second attempt to cut her own deal with Scratch, Tom grows concerned about her and the valuables she took with her (although it becomes evident that he cares more about the valuables than about her). When he discovers her apron, he thinks to himself "at least I found my stuff, I can probably do without my wife" - and when it turns out that she's dead, he feels like Scratch did him a favor, and that losing his property was worth losing his wife.

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The Devil and Tom Walker

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