Is Tom Walker of Irving's "The Devil and Tom Walker" better or worse than the other prominent Puritans in Boston?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Because the other Puritans are simpler in their hypocrisy, Tom Walker is better than they at the hypocrisy that he practices in this tale of grotesque Romanticism. For, he embraces Puritanism merely as one invests in insurance because he "had a lurking dread that the Devil after all would have his due." Thus, his hypocrisy is sanctimonious

Tom was as rigid in religious as in money matters:  he was a stern supervisor and censurer of his neighbors....He even talked of the expediency of reviving the persecution of Quakers and Anabaptists.

So that he may not be taken "unaware," Tom is strict in religious matters. He always carries a bible, and is found reading it in his countinghouse. When people enter he marks his page with his glasses. Nevertheless, the practiced hypocrite and usurer is taken by surprise in his moral consciousness one night when he is ready to foreclose on a mortgage and without his bible.

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