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The Devil And Tom Walker Greed Theme

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Aaron Davis January 18, 2017 English-11 Ms. Metzker The Devil and Tom Walker The overall theme of this story is greed. The narrator uses the description of the swamp and other things to suggest this theme and establish the tone for the story. The devil, in the story, guards the treasure not to protect it, but to use it in tempting people to live lives of sin and mainly greed. Captain Kidd is representative of all the story’s greedy people, whose efforts to indulge in their greed result not in earthly pleasure but self-destruction. The futility of greed is witnessed by the air of starvation that hangs about Tom and his wife’s estate, as well as by how greed motivates the two to fight with and deceive each other. Their miserliness causes misery…show more content…
At the same time, it’s worth noting that the story portrays American colonists like Deacon Peabody and Tom, as also worshipping the devil by acting mainly on their greed. When looked at in that way, the colonists are no more right than the Indians, they are just better at deceiving themselves about their sinful nature.The skull is a reminder of death’s imminence. Though not frightened now, Tom later goes mad with the idea of death. In a metaphorical sense, all that comes out of the swamp, even Kidd’s gold, bring death with…show more content…
It also seems like many people in England are trying to get rich, no matter what the cost. The economic depression works in Tom’s favor because it makes people more desperate to borrow money from Tom, even on bad terms, just as Tom became more and more desperate to strike up a deal with the devil when Old Scratch made him wait to do so. In exploiting the vulnerable, Tom is acting all the more immorally. It is only in old age, when death is near, that Tom begins to fear the devil, as he should have all along. “As Tom waxed old, however, he grew thoughtful. Having secured the good things of this world, he began to feel anxious about those of the next. He thought with regret on the bargain he had made with his black friend, and set his wits to work to cheat him out of the conditions. He became, therefore, all of a sudden, a violent churchgoer. He prayed loudly and strenuously as if heaven were to be taken by force of lungs.” (Irvine) Instead of becoming genuinely contrite for his sins, however, Tom just makes a hypocritical show of being religious, and in his zeal even furthers his service to the devil by talking about persecuting the Quakers and Anabaptists, which he must have forgotten is one of Old Scratch’s principal
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