In "The Devil and Tom Walker," what is implied about Washington Irving's opinions of Puritans?

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It's fair to say that Irving's portrayal of Puritans is far from flattering. He lays bare and satirizes the fundamental paradox at the heart of their moral code: intense religious commitment combined with an equally intense Protestant work ethic. This paradox between the spiritual and the material is expressed by the character of Tom's wife, who tries to make a shabby deal with Old Nick himself. She loads up all the valuables she's accrued over the years—the fruits of hard work, sweat, and toil, which for Puritans is an unmistakable sign of godliness—to exchange for Captain Kidd's treasure. Unfortunately for Mrs. Walker, the deal must've fallen flat, because all that's left of her is a heart and liver (which is kind of surprising, as we never thought she had a heart in the first place).

Anyway, Tom is quite relieved at the loss of his nagging...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 428 words.)

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