Dead Man's Pockets Analysis

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In present day, society has developed the common misconception that in order for people to be happy and attain a high quality of life, they must undergo many hardships, as demonstrated by the ‘American Dream.’ In the short story, “Dead Man’s Pockets” by Jack Finney, Tom Benecke believes in this misconception; and in order to achieve this false idea of happiness, he works countless hours to change his life without appreciating the good that was already present—in other words, his family. Such struggles are paralleled when Tom Benecke encounters yet another hardship and fortuitously traps himself outside of his apartment window in an attempt to catch a sheet of work-related notes. In comparison, however, the situation allows Tom to reflect upon his past decisions. While both the ledge and Tom’s work represent obstacles that he must surpass, his responses to these situations differ greatly. Tom’s response to long work hours is based on his ambitions where his goal is to work harder in order to bring his family riches. In the other setting, Tom’s response to his isolation on the window ledge is that of reflection—a response that Tom never had towards his work. Ultimately, Jack Finney presents the idea that under dire circumstances, people will reflect differently upon past decisions from which they may regret. It is the delusion of happiness that presents Tom Benecke with the hardships of work. This delusion formulating from the influences of society, truly emphasizes the melancholy Tom experiences, as one cannot be content with merely fortune itself. As described in the text, Benecke spent Saturday afternoons, evenings at home, and snatched half hours in addition to the work he already has, in order to succeed further in his profession. Though work seems to be an addiction of some sort, it is not to his liking. In fact, further investigation would show that he is not a workaholic, for he would be willing to avoid his work simply by being “tempted to go [with his...
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