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From the description of the condition of the Walkers' home and horse it is clear that they are a cruel and miserly pair. The narrator notes that, "They lived in a forlorn looking house, that stood alone and had an air of starvation." The narrator's choice of the word starvation is particularly notable because it indicates an incredible level of miserliness that the couple exude. This same miserliness is reflected in the horrible condition which they keep their horse in: "A miserable horse, whose ribs were as articulate as the bars of a gridiron." This suggests that the horse is starved to the extent that its ribs are evident and its life is impoverished due its terrible condition. Throughout the rest of the story the Walkers live up to what we expect from such a description. While Mrs. Walker disappears with their silverware, which she intends to use in a trade with the devil, Mr. Walker discovers that she has gone missing and goes out more in search of the silverware than his own wife. Mr. Walker further confirms his penuriousness by trading his soul for treasure and becoming a usurer. In fact, even after becoming incredibly wealthy, Mr. Walker is so stingy that he only finishes the outside of his house, leaving the inside unfinished and without furniture.
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