In "The Devil and Tom Walker," what is Tom's attitude before the bargain?  

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think it is important to focus on what we are told about Tom Walker before he meets the Devil. It is clear that Irving doesn't present him as a paragon of goodness. Consider this description:

...there lived a meager, miserly fellow, of the name of Tom Walker. He had a wife as miserly as himself: They were so miserly that they even conspired to cheat each other... Her husband was continually prying about to detect her secret hoards, and may and fierce were the conflicts that took place about what ought to have been common property.

Note also how their plot of land and house is described - they live in a "forlorn looking house" which had an air of "starvation." There are a few, wispy trees, which are "emblems of sterility" and they have one "miserable" horse.

It is clear then that Irving is setting us up with a character who is so miserly and tight-fisted that he even tries to bargain with and trick the Devil - his attitude is very selfish and miserly, and thus he seems to be a fitting character to have a tussle with the Devil and in the end, lose, as he is dragged of by the Devil.

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