Metaphor in The Devil and Tom Walker

The metaphors throughout “The Devil and Tom Walker” reinforce the moral allegory within the story. Often, Irving uses metaphors to compare physical things to spiritual or moral ideas.

The Devil and Tom Walker 1
"and shook many tall sinners down upon their knees..."   (The Devil and Tom Walker)

This line implies that the earthquake served as a reminder for many sinners of how temporary and unstable physical life is. That the sinners were shaken down to their knees suggests that many of them realized that their spiritual lives needed attending to and that the afterlife and the value of their souls were more valuable than worldy things.