The confession is a highly amusing and rather wry account of the hypocrisy of society and the way that they are happy to benefit from a man's wealth until it becomes clear that the wealth has been acquired through suspect means. Gregory Kuzmich, the narrator of this short story, states how everybody courted him and he was considered to be a shaker and mover of society, even though there were vicious rumours concerning his wealth and where he got it from. However, what is key to realise is that those nearest to him are perfectly happy to benefit from the wealth themselves until it is officially decided if Kuzmich has actually stolen it or not. Note the following quote:
I saw their smiles and heard their sighs. "He stole it, the crook!" they whispered, grinning maliciously. But their sighing and smirking did not prevent them from eating, drinking and enjoying themselves. Neither wolves nor diabetics ever ate as they did.
This is the case with both the narrator's wife and brother, who on the one hand promise to leave him and disassociate themselves with him if he is proven to be a thief, but are very happy to enjoy the wealth that Kuzmich brings. Hypocrisy then is the key theme of this short story, as those around Kuzmich threaten to abandon him whilst partaking of the wealth that they apparently find so adverse.