The Confidence Man

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Mrs. Rindfleisch - Sample Expository Essay


The Confidence Man”

PROMPT: How is the title relevant to the story?

A confidence man is a person that gains trust then takes advantage of or abuses that trust. “The Confidence Man” written by George Garrett is a story about a stereotypical spinster who puts her trust in a playboy. The title is befitting of the story, because Alma puts whirlwind faith in Rodney, and he ultimately uses her to get to her money.

In the story, Rodney breezes into Alma’s life, breaking her away from a mundane existence. She no longer is found riding her bicycle, but gallivanting through the city seated behind Rodney on his motorcycle. Because the motorcycle is a new thrill for Alma and Rodney knows this, he gains her trust by offering her colorful days filled with fun and fancy food. His gentleman-like quality is refreshing, and she begins to act as if she was lost in a hurricane crush with her “skirt misbehaving in the wind and her laughter as naked and shrill as a girl’s” (11). Alma’s hair (and guard) now down, Rodney goes for her heart and leaves with her fortune.

Alma’s and Rodney’s friendship is not a relationship of symbiosis. She seemingly keeps Rodney around just long enough to let the wind back into her hair, but he leaves her as soon as he achieves his financial goal. Alma puts her faith in Rodney hoping his intentions were true, but to her dismay Rodney violates the beauty of the companionship by stealing her money and her faith in people. Ultimately, Alma may never trust again. Trust is a word that holds a heavy meaning and, in this case, a heavy price.

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