What does Irving use to symbolize hypocrisy and hidden evil in "The Devil and Tom Walker"?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Irving uses Tom Walker himself to symbolize hypocrisy and hidden evil. The devil mentions knowing Tom's father. If the devil is telling the truth, Tom had never realized his father had also sold his soul to the devil. However, the most glaring example of hypocrisy is Tom's behavior after selling his soul. Tom becomes a zealous church-goer and judgmental neighbor who persecutes Quakers and Anabaptists. He carries a huge Bible which is makes sure people see him read, while he is driving a hard bargain as a usurer ( a person who loans money at interest.) In fact, his hypocrisy ultimately causes his downfall when he says, "The devil take me" if I have made any money in his business. Of course, the devil does take Tom because Tom has made such a fortune on the backs of people unfortunate enough to owe him money.

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The Devil and Tom Walker

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