What does Tom do when he begins to regret his bargain with the devil?

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Not long after making his bargain with the devil, Tom Walker begins to have a change of mind. This is shown clearly through the following line:

Having secured the good things of this world, he began to feel anxious about those of the next.

In other words, Tom begins to think about the long-term implications of dealing with the devil. Specifically, he worries about his soul. As a result, Tom becomes a "violent Church-goer" in the hope that this newfound piety might save him from an eternity in hell.

As part of this newfound piety, Tom prays "loudly and strenuously." At the Sunday service, Tom would repent very loudly and enthusiastically for any sins committed in the previous week. Tom also became a "censurer" of his neighbors, meaning that he kept a close eye on their behavior and intervened when they committed a sin.

In addition, Tom starts carrying a Bible in his pocket and places a larger copy on his desk. Customers would often find Tom reading the Bible, another sign of his increased devotion.

Despite his efforts, however, Tom is not able to escape his deal with the devil. At the end of the story, he is carried away by Old Scratch, just like his wife.

dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tom Walker sells his soul to the devil in exchange for great wealth in the form of buried treasure.  As part of the deal he must be employed in his lifetime in the devil's service, and to do this he chooses to become a money-lender, "cheating people out of their money and charging them outrageous interest".  As Tom grows old, he begins to worry about the terms of the agreement he has made, and tries to cheat the devil out of taking his soul.  In order to do this he suddenly becomes an avid church-goer who reads the Bible "obsessively" and prays loudly in church so that everyone can hear.  His efforts are to no avail, however, and the devil comes one day and takes Tom away on a black horse.  He is never seen again.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tom also carries his Bible with him everywhere in hopes that having it will thwart the Devil's ability to wisk Tom away and fulfill the contract they made together.  Unfortunately for Tom, the Devil calls on Tom when he is without his Bible. 

melissa1106 | Student

In the Devil and Tom Walker, Tom sells his soul to the devil in order to obtain the riches the devil had. The devil makes him work as basically a loan shark and scams people out of a lot of money. When he starts to regret his decision, he gets avidly involved in religion and carries a bible with him.

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The Devil and Tom Walker

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