My Financial Career

by Stephen Leacock

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Why is the narrator disoriented in "My Financial Career"?

Quick answer:

The narrator in "My Financial Career" is in such a condition because going to the bank always makes him feel nervous. He's out of his depth in a bank, and so he never feels that he truly belongs in such a place. This explains his inability to know just what he's doing.

Expert Answers

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As Stephen Leacock makes abundantly clear in “My Financial Career,” going to the bank is a pretty traumatic experience for him. He doesn't feel any kind of connection with banks; he doesn't feel that they are there to serve the interests of people like himself. They exist purely to serve the interests of high rollers and wealthy corporations with lots of capital.

It's notable that the bank manager only treats the narrator with reverence when he mistakenly believes him to be a rich man with lots of money to deposit. The bank manager happily fawns over the narrator in the belief that he's about to put a lot of cash into his account. As soon as he discovers that the narrator really isn't the high roller he thought he was, he immediately changes his tune.

No wonder, then, that the narrator doesn't know what he's doing and that the bank seems to swim before his eyes. He's hopelessly out of his depth in this place, and he knows it. For him, the bank is an intimidating, inhospitable place that he finds completely disorientating. In some respects, “My Financial Career” could be interpreted as an allegory on the power imbalance between corporate America and the “little guy."

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