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"Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket"
Transcript of "Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket"
Cause and Effect, Conflict, Suspense
Cause: an event, an action, or a situation that produces a result
Effect: the result produced
CAUSE: Tom decides to go out on the ledge to get the yellow paper
Tom convinces himself it will be easy and safe to retrieve the paper.
He goes out on the ledge and ends up nearly losing his life
He realizes that the paper and his job are not as important as his relationship with his wife
Tom and Clare spend more time together and have a much happier marriage. Tom's happiness at home allows him to relax about his work. He gets a promotion after all because he has such a positive attitude and has become a team player.
The struggle between two forces
A character struggles against an outside force
A character struggles with his or her own opposing desires, beliefs, or needs.
"He kissed her then and, for an instant, holding her close, smelling the perfume she had used, he was tempted to go with her; it was not actually true that he had to work tonight."
: "He could not kneel here hesitating indefinitely till he lost all courage to act, waiting till he slipped off the ledge."
The story would have had no true meaning without Tom's internal conflict, which made him realize that his life and his relationship with his wife are more important than getting a promotion at work. If Finney had focused on external conflict only, the story would have been just a brief, suspenseful incident.
Tom Benecke climbs into his apartment. He immediately gets up and places something large and heavy on the yellow paper to make sure it cannot fly away again. He spends the rest of the evening copying his notes three times, placing each copy in a different, secure place. When Clare gets hom, Tom tells her that she is the most important thing in his life, which is why he is so determined to get a promotion. He wants to give her a life of luxury some day.