illustrated outline of a person's head with a red thumbprint on the forehead with an outline of the devil behind

The Devil and Tom Walker

by Washington Irving

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What might have happened if Tom's wife had made a deal with the devil?

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Tom's wife did make a deal with the Devil or so it is told. She made her first encounter with him but he wanted her to bring items of value to him. The next evening she left with her apron full of various articles worth money. After 2 nights and 1/2 day absence Tom left to look for her . Rumor has it that Tom found the apron of his wife, but all that was in it was the heart and liver.  It is assumed the wife tried to make a deal with the Devil and got into a rather messy fray and that she lost in the end.  Knowing how fierce his wife was, Tom figured she put up a good fight and gave the Devil a run for his money. Tom was thankful to the Devil ,in a way, because he would no longer have to deal with the terrible life he had with his wife.  He was more upset that he couldn't find the valuable articles she had brought to trade with the Devil.

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More to the point, what do you think would happen to Tom's wife? Let me give you some things to think about. What did happen to Tom's wife? Does the story specifically say, or was it left to your interpretation? Do you get the impression that she died? If so, why did she die? So can you infer that if she had made the deal as she wanted to, she would have survived? Did Tom ultimately survive his encounter with the devil? Would she have gotten her wishes from the devil? Would her fate been similar to Tom's? So, from all of that, what do you think would have happened if Tom's wife would have made a deal with the devil?

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