Study Guide

A Confederacy of Dunces Wealth

By John Kennedy Toole

Wealth

Wealth. Everyone wants it. We write these very words for wealth, and you… do you not read them in the hope of acing that test and going on to win fame and fortune in the great A Confederacy of Dunces competitive analysis super bowl?

Folks in this book have a wide range of wealth. At the top there's Mr. Levy, a big business owner and heir to a good deal of money; in the middle there're small business owners like Mr. Clyde and Lana Lee, along with pensioners with some money saved like Claude. And then, heading down toward the bottom of the spectrum, there's the teetering-on-the-edge-of-the-middle-class Reillys, and the virtually destitute Burma Jones.

Wealth makes a huge difference in how people on different parts of the class ladder live their lives. Mr. Levy has problems, certainly, but his life of jetting to sporting events is a lot more comfortable than Burma Jones's. Still, wherever they are on the class ladder, the characters are united in worrying, and being worried by, money. Even Ignatius, who claims elaborately not to be part of the modern rat race, spends the entire book trying to find some way to get money, or to hide money from his mother.

Sex may be a marginal interest for many of the characters here, but money is universal.

Questions About Wealth

  1. How are George and Officer Mancuso alike in their approach to their jobs? 
  2. Who is the worst boss in A Confederacy of Dunces? Explain your reasoning.
  3. Who is the worst employee in A Confederacy of Dunces? Explain your reasoning.

Chew on This

Ignatius would be happier if he were rich.

Ignatius would not be happier if he were rich.