Q:

What is the climax of "The Devil and Tom Walker"?

A:

Quick Answer

The climax of "The Devil and Tom Walker" takes place when the devil comes calling for Tom Walker's soul, pounding three times on the door after Tom makes the mistake of sarcastically summoning the devil during a conversation with one of his debtors. Tom has spent his life growing wealthy on the basis of a deal with Old Scratch after the death of his wife.

Know More

Full Answer

Washington Irving wrote quite a few stories about interactions between humans and the supernatural, and "The Devil and Tom Walker" features the temptations that money brings to those who are poor. Tom Walker is a greedy man who, even with miserly habits, has not been able to get out of poverty. He is walking in the swamp one day, and he meets the devil in the guise of a lumberjack chopping trees down, each with the name of a well-known colonist. The devil offers Tom the treasure of the dead pirate Kidd in exchange for Tom's immortal soul. A little leery of the deal, Tom asks for time to go home and think about it. However, he tells his wife about the offer, and when he is out one day, she goes to the devil and takes the deal. However, she also takes many of Tom's things with her, and when Tom goes looking for her, he just finds his wife's apron, holding her liver and heart, tied onto a tree.

Because Tom is excited about his wife's death, he takes the deal, only then becoming quite religious while also charging high rates of interest on the money that the devil has given him. He carries two Bibles with him all the time, but when a borrower asks for mercy, he says, "The Devil take me if I have made but a farthing!" Suddenly, the Devil comes for his due.

Learn more about Classics

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why did Tom and Daisy reconcile?

    A:

    Tom and Daisy in "The Great Gatsby" reconcile because of the downfall of Jay Gatsby's persona. After Tom explains to Daisy who Gatsby really is, a dishonest bootlegger, Gatsby loses his temper. It is at that point that the idea of who Jay Gatsby is begins to crumble, making Daisy return to her husband, Tom.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why does Nick finally shake hands with Tom?

    A:

    In F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, "The Great Gatsby," Nick finally shakes hands with Tom when he comes to understand that Tom cannot be held responsible for his own callousness. Having already made up his mind to leave the East Coast for the Midwest, Nick understands that Tom, along with his other friends, has been corrupted by East Coast values.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why do Tom and Daisy leave in "The Great Gatsby"?

    A:

    Tom and Daisy of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" leave town after Gatsby's death because of their infidelities. Tom had several affairs with women, including a chambermaid and Myrtle Wilson. Daisy was furious with her husband but continued to ignore his behavior until she reunited with Jay Gatsby, according to CliffsNotes.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What rumors have been told about Gatsby?

    A:

    In the story "The Great Gatsby," some of the rumors that have been told about Gatsby include Gatsby being a bootlegger, a German spy, a nephew of Von Hindenburg, a second cousin to the Devil and a murderer. The novel was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1925.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore