The Devil and Tom Walker Major Events

Washington Irving
Washington Irving.

The Devil and Tom Walker may be a short story but quite a bit takes place in its few pages. The famous story by Washington Irving has inspired many authors since its publication in 1824. What is it about this story that has captured the imagination of so many? Why does this story resonate with reader’s centuries after it was written? The answers can be found by studying the text. One of the first places to start is to look at the major events in the story.

While it might seem like every event in a short story would be major this isn’t the case. Sometimes authors hide important details in seemingly unimportant aspects of the story in order to distract or fool the reader. The main events off The Devil and Tom Walker can be divided into two different locations. It is up to the reader to decide what the significance of those locations are. 

Major Events in The Devil and Tom Walker

Old Indian Fort

  • Tom Walker meets Old Scratch: "Tom lifted up his eyes and beheld a great black man..."
  • Old Scratch offers Tom Walker great sums of money in exchange for "certain conditions."
  • Tom's wife confronts Old Scratch.
  • Tom Walker agrees to the Old Scratch's "conditions"--with some hesitation.


  • Tom Walker opens a broker's office in Boston.
  • A ruined speculator asks for a debt he owes to Tom to be forgiven.

Why Study the Major Events?

When studying literature, it’s important to understand how major events in the story help to shape the late.

One can ask how do these events change and affect the plot? Why did the author choose to set his characters on the course he did or why certain things happen in a particular order. Understanding the major events in the tale will help readers analyze the text and know what to focus on.