My Financial Career

by Stephen Leacock

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Student Question

What elements in Stephen Leacock's "My Financial Career" indicate it's set in the past?

Expert Answers

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We can tell that Stephen Leacock’s story “My Financial Career” is set quite far back in the past because of the amounts of money involved and various references in the setting and by the characters. Let’s explore these.

The narrator goes to the bank to deposit $56. He is now making $50 a month, and he feels like he had better put that much money in the bank. The amount involved here lets us know that we are dealing with a past setting, for no one today (or for quite a long time) would think that $50 a month is a lot of money.

Further, the bank where the narrator goes still has wickets, windows covered by gratings where customers interacted with tellers. The manager’s office leads into a huge iron safe as well. Both of these are relics of the past.

Also, the narrator behaves so strangely that the manager thinks he is one of “Pinkerton’s men.” This refers to the Pinkerton detective agency that investigated many bank robberies in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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