What is the problem in "The Devil and Tom Walker" between Tom and the Boston neighbors?

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cldbentley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As Tom Walker reached old age, he began to be concerned about what might happen to him when he died.  Because he had made a deal with the devil, he began to be concerned about losing his soul and spending eternity in hell.  Tom began to attend church and became extremely vocal in his prayers; he seemed to think that volume and frequency were indicators of his spiritual status.  When this happened,

The quiet Christians who had been modestly and steadfastly traveling Zionward, were struck with self-reproach at seeing themselves so suddenly outstripped in their career by this new-made convert.

In addition, Tom was quick to recognize the sins of his neighbors and felt that pointing them out made him seem a better Christian while making them worse.  Of course, these offences were only additions to the advantage he took of the those in need when they were forced to employ his services as usurer.

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The Devil and Tom Walker

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