My Financial Career

by Stephen Leacock

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What did the manager mistake the narrator for in "My Financial Career"?

Quick answer:

The manager thinks that the narrator in "My Financial Career" is a detective or a millionaire with a large sum of money that he wishes to deposit. This misunderstanding explains why the bank manager allows him into his office, only to treat him with ill-disguised contempt when he finds out he isn't who he thought he was.

Expert Answers

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The narrator is so awkward and out of his depth in the bank that he manages to convey an entirely false impression of who he actually is. He is just a simple man running a simple errand; all he wants to do is to open a bank account and deposit the princely sum of $56. But because he's so completely out of his depth in the intimidating surroundings of a bank, he finds it impossible to make this simple, straightforward transaction.

Inevitably, this arouses the attention of members of staff. When the narrator approaches the bank manager and speaks to him tentatively in hushed tones, the manager jumps to the conclusion that the gentleman in front of him is either a detective or a millionaire wishing to deposit a very large sum of money.

Suffice to say, the bank manager is wrong on both counts. And now that he realizes his mistake and feels somewhat foolish, he impolitely shows the narrator the door and asks one of the bank staff to handle him. Thanks to the bank manager's rudeness, he feels even more awkward and hopelessly out of his depth now than he did when he first set foot in the bank.

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