“The Contents of the Dead Man’s Pockets Analysis”

“The Contents of the Dead Man’s Pockets” by Jack Finney, is a story about a man named Tom Benecke who climbs onto a ledge of a tall building to retrieve his paper for work. The dangerous event changes his life view when he finally realizes that there is more to life than working to be successful.

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In the story, there is an external conflict between Tom Benecke and his environment. There is also an internal conflict with himself. Finney adds a dilemma for Tom where he must weigh out the actions he is about to take. Tom can either choose to risk his life for the paper with months of data in hopes of a promotion, or stay inside and lose his chance for a promotion. The author also adds suspense to the story. When Tom first goes on to the ledge of the building to retrieve the paper, he does not bother to look down and see how dangerous it is until he returns to the window. If Finney had put the part where Tom looks down to see how high up he is, the story’s outcome probably would have been different because Tom would not have gone onto to the ledge or he would have been less frightened on his walk back to the window.. Another example of suspense in the story is when Tom is about to put through the window to get back inside. Tom knows that if he hits too hard and the glass does not break, the force will push him back causing him to fall to his death. Because of that, the reader is put on the edge of their seat because Tom could make it through the window or fall to his death.  On the walk back, foreshadowing is somewhat used in the title, “The Contents of the Dead Man’s Pockets,” because the story has a part where Tom feels like he is about to faint or when he starts to think about what would happen if he fell; no one would know who this man is because there is just a random note with a bunch of data on it. Finally, the falling action of the story is when Tom musters the courage to punch through the window. He gets through in the safety of his apartment.

In “The Contents of the Dead Man’s Pockets,”  the main character Tom Benecke is an example of a dynamic character. The meaning of the dynamic character is that the character experiences a change from the beginning of the story. He is also a flat character which means the reader does not see the past of the character and only one side of the character is really shown. The author mostly focused on the dynamic aspect of the character because that would be the most relevant to the story, a life-changing event that causes the character to see life in a different more meaningful way. At the beginning of the story, Tom Benecke’s wife asks him if he wants to go the movies. Tom declines the offer because he had to do work. Although he had been wanting to go to the movies long before, he chose to stay and keep working in hopes of a promotion. The character of Tom Benecke in the beginning of the story was that he was focused on success. Once the paper flies out through the window, he must weigh out risking his life by climbing out onto the ledge to get the paper or to just let the paper go and he stays in the safety of his apartment. Tom chooses to get the paper, but gets stuck on the ledge. On his way back to the window, he notices how high up he actually is and fear has finally taken over his mind. By the end of the story, the Tom Benecke who was focused on his work and success has changed when he realizes there is more to his life. Tom reflects on the time spent on work rather than spending time with his family and decides to go to the movies with his wife. Tom Benecke is an example of a dynamic character. 

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