Example of essay on washington irvings the devil and tom walker

The story of my choice is Washington Irving’s “ The Devil and Tom Walker.” Like most other stories of the same author, this one has a moral to it, which is revealed at the very end with the tragic, yet deserving demise of the protagonist, Tom Walker.
At the very beginning, the central character is revealed for what he truly is: a miser, with a wife of equal characteristics, who was even prone to hitting him during their arguments, with their miserly behavior going to such lengths that his wife would pay close attention to their hen, desiring the egg only to herself. Thus, from the very start, Tom Walker is perceived by the readers as a very unlikeable character, who fails to strike the initial bargain with the Devil simply to spite his wife. Now, it is possible that a compassionate reader might succumb to the belief that Walker is as he is because he has such a hag for a wife, and would not for the life of him do anything that would please her, even if it means becoming rich beyond his wildest dreams, but the ending reveals this belief to be false. Luckily for him, his termagant wife’s avarice gets the best of her and she is lost in the woods, searching for Old Scratch, killed by him or by the unforgiving swamp terrain.
The plot continues from here on like a Faustian legend. Walker strikes a deal with the Devil, pledging his soul for wealth, which he will amass by becoming a usurer, after getting Kidd pirate’s gold. Like Faust himself, Walker enjoys his time immensely, feels no remorse or guilt about putting people out in the streets, taking all their money, possessions, and human dignity. This goes on until he becomes older, and starts feeling the cold hand of death upon his shoulder. The reader is then introduced to, not a different Walker, but a more pious one, and again, the more compassionate reader may believe his transformation. He starts going to church, becomes a devoted follower of religion, in a desperate attempt to erase his numerous sins. However, he continues his usury and makes absolutely no attempt at renouncing his wealth, maybe even donating all his earthly possessions in an effort to save his immortal soul. Had he done this, the reasonable reader may have believed him, too. Still, Walker continues to enjoy his wrongly amassed wealth, continuing with his weekly church sessions, hoping this will be enough.
In the end, if not throughout the story itself, it becomes obvious that people can rarely change their patterns of behavior. As a newly awakened Christian, Walker was given an opportunity to help someone by prolonging their deadline and saving him from bankruptcy, but he proclaims the words that prove to be his doom that the Devil may take him, if he had earned a farthing from a business transaction with this particular person. Both his Bibles are left far out of his reach at this moment, and the dark silhouette in front of his door has come to take him to the place where he belongs, after which Tom Walker becomes the thing of legends.
Thus, it becomes clear that Walker was always the same as he was, avaricious and evil, thinking only of himself and his own benefit, despite the fact that he was truly frightened of being righteously punished for his bargain with the Devil. Irving shows that Walker may pretend to have changed, but as it is always the case, truth emerges no matter how hard we try to keep it subdued and out of the public eye. In the end, it is Walker’s own nature that betrays him, and seals his doomed fate.