The Devil and Tom Walker Questions and Answers
by Washington Irving

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What is an example of hypocrisy in Washington Irving's "The Devil and Tom Walker?"

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Examples of hypocrisy abound in Washington Irving's short story "The Devil and Tom Walker." Tom lives a bitter, dreadful existence. He is in a loveless marriage and he and his wife scrounge for every bit of money they can find. Hypocrisy, in fact, is integral to Tom Walker's character, as well as that of his soon-to-be-disappeared wife. Note, for instance, in the following passage from early in Irving's story, in which the author describes the constant suspicions between man and wife regarding hidden money in defiance of their agreement regarding the sharing of wealth:

"Her husband was continually prying about to detect her secret hoards, and many and fierce were the conflicts that took place about what ought to have been common property."

The above quote from "The Devil and Tom Walker" suggests a deeply-rooted cynicism as well as a marked tendency on the part of both spouses towards hypocrisy. This, however, is but a mere hint of the hypocrisy yet to come as Tom wanders through the dark,...

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