Destiny R. Potts
5 September 2012
The Contents of the Dead Man’s Pocket
People sometimes take life for granted. Unaware of the goodness in life, the demands of work can overwhelm a person. In the short story, “Contents of the Dead Man’s Pocket” by Jack Finney, Tom learns that life is more valuable than possession,
Tom’s inner conflicts force him to take a second look at his priorities. For example, when Tom’s wife leaves for the movies, he says “Are you sure you don’t mind going alone?” (pg. 15)This shows that he feels guilty about putting his wife second to his career. This also shows that he is having second thoughts about staying at home and working. In addition, when Tom decides it is worth going out on the ledge of his apartment building to retrieve the yellow paper, he struggles with his inner self: he could fell the terrible strength of the pent-up horror on just the other side of the flimsy barrier he had erected in his mind…(pg. 21)This shows that if Tom is able to keep his panic under control, he can reach his apartment easily. This also shows that Tom must calm down and think clearly and rationally if he wants to see his wife again.. By taking a chance to retrieve the paper from the ledge , Tom is beginning to be aware of much-needed change in his priorities.
Tom’s external conflicts further convince him that his life cannot end on his apartment ledge. For example, Tom experiences problems holding on and preventing him-self from falling. His forehead was pressed directly into the corner against the cold bricks and now he carefully lowered first one hand, then the other…to the next indentation in the row of bricks(pg.19)This shows that Tom is convinced not to give up after all he has been through in retrieving the very important piece of paper. This also shows that although it feels like an eternity out on the ledge, he will not let the elements determine his fate. In...