The Devil and Tom Walker

Tom Walker’s Wife Character Analysis

Tom’s stereotypical nagging, scolding wife is even more miserly than her husband; when she’s not hoarding valuables from him, she’s verbally, maybe even physically abusing him. After Tom initially declines to accept Old Scratch’s offer to sell his soul for riches, Tom’s wife fearlessly resolves to accept it herself, bearing in her apron the household’s silver out into the swamp to bargain with the devil. She’s never heard from again (characteristically, Tom misses the silver more than he does his wife). Some say she just got lost; others say she ran off with the silver to another province. However, another, more probable story holds that Tom found evidence that the devil just dragged his wife down to hell: a bundle tied in an apron that held a heart and a liver. Tom, of course, pities Old Scratch in all this: the devil must have had a tough time of wrestling and dragging Tom’s ferocious wife down to her damnation.

Tom Walker’s Wife Quotes in The Devil and Tom Walker

The The Devil and Tom Walker quotes below are all either spoken by Tom Walker’s Wife or refer to Tom Walker’s Wife. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Greed Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Dover Publications edition of The Devil and Tom Walker published in 2008.
“The Devil and Tom Walker” Quotes

There lived near this place a meagre miserly fellow of the name of Tom Walker. He had a wife as miserly as himself… They lived in a forlorn-looking house, that stood alone and had an air of starvation.

Related Characters: Tom Walker, Tom Walker’s Wife
Page Number: 161
Explanation and Analysis:

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One would think that to meet with such a singular personage [as Old Scratch], in this wild, lonely place, would have shaken any man’s nerves; but Tom was a hard-minded fellow, not easily daunted, and he had lived so long with a termagant wife, that he did not even fear the devil.

Related Characters: Tom Walker, Old Scratch, Tom Walker’s Wife
Related Symbols: Old Scratch’s Swamp
Page Number: 164
Explanation and Analysis:

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All her [Tom Walker’s wife’s] avarice was awakened at the mention of hidden gold, and she urged her husband to comply with the black man's terms and secure what would make them wealthy for life. However Tom might have felt disposed to sell himself to the devil, he was determined not to do so to oblige his wife; so he flatly refused out of the mere spirit of contradiction.

Related Characters: Tom Walker’s Wife
Page Number: 165
Explanation and Analysis:

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Tom now grew uneasy for her [his wife’s] safety, especially as he found she had carried off in her apron the silver teapot and spoons, and every portable article of value.

Related Characters: Tom Walker’s Wife
Page Number: 165
Explanation and Analysis:

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What was her [Tom Walker’s wife’s] real fate nobody knows, in consequence of so many pretending to know. It is one of those facts that have become confounded by a variety of historians.

Related Characters: Tom Walker’s Wife
Page Number: 166
Explanation and Analysis:

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Tom consoled himself for the loss of his property, with the loss of his wife, for he was a man of fortitude. He even felt something like gratitude towards the black woodman, who, he considered, had done him a kindness.

Related Characters: Tom Walker, Tom Walker’s Wife
Page Number: 167
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderi

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Tom Walker’s Wife Character Timeline in The Devil and Tom Walker

The timeline below shows where the character Tom Walker’s Wife appears in The Devil and Tom Walker. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
“The Devil and Tom Walker”
Greed Theme Icon
...poor miser named Tom Walker, who is married to a an ill-tempered, fierce, loud, strong wife as miserly as himself. So miserly are the two, in fact, that they even try... (full context)
Greed Theme Icon
Wealth, Religion, and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Tom arrives home to find a black, irremovable fingerprint burnt into his forehead. His wife’s first news for him is that the rich buccaneer Absalom Crowninshield has suddenly died: “‘a... (full context)
Greed Theme Icon
Tom shares with his wife all that transpired in the swamp, and mention of Kidd’s hidden gold awakens the miserly... (full context)
Greed Theme Icon
At the close of one’s summer day, then, Tom’s wife fearlessly treks to the ruined Indian fort herself. She is gone many hours, and returns... (full context)
Greed Theme Icon
Storytelling as Moral Instruction Theme Icon
Nobody knows what fate actually befell Tom’s wife, but many theories circulate: some say she got lost in the mazy swamp and fell... (full context)
Greed Theme Icon
Storytelling as Moral Instruction Theme Icon
The most current and probable story, however, holds that Tom went out searching for his wife in the swamp, when owls and bats were on the wing. Soon enough his attention... (full context)
Greed Theme Icon
Tom consoles himself for the loss of his property with the loss of his wife, feeling even grateful to Old Scratch. He consequently tries to meet up with the devil... (full context)