September 18, 2012
Contents of a Dead Man’s Pocket
Jack Finney starts off the story with Tom Benecke sitting at a desk in the living room of his eleventh floor apartment, typing a memo for work. His wife Clare is preparing to go to the movies alone. With difficulty, Tom opens a stubborn window, and a gust of wind blows his paper out of the window onto a ledge. We see how Finney casually introduces that his apartment is on the eleventh floor of the building, in the great city of New York. Before you even begin reading the story, you get an eerie feeling just from the title of the short story. Then when you begin to read the story, and he introduces ...view middle of the document...
Edging along, he reaches the corner where the paper lies. He looks down at the street below, and starts to panic. He is frozen with fear. He shouts but no one hears him. He thinks of the worst, but gains enough strength to inch back to his apartment. We are now at the top the suspense ladder. He uses the traffic in the bustling city, and ledge of the New York City apartment building to create a sense of suspense and eeriness in this part of the story. We now are getting a better and better picture of how Finney uses the setting, including time and place, to create suspense.
As Finney begins to reach the tippy top of the suspense ladder, he once again continues on with Tom reaching for the apartment window, as stumbles, causing the window to fall closed. He almost falls, then catches the window frame, and pulls himself against it. He can't open the window. He tries to break the glass with a coin, signal apartments across the street by setting fire to papers he finds in his pockets, drop coins onto the street below, but all of his attempts fail. He realizes if he falls, he has no i.d. The only thing to be found on his person will be the contents of his pockets: the page of data. He regrets the time he has spent away from his wife, working. His life seems wasted. As a last effort, he decides to punch his way through the window. He is successful. Upon reentering his apartment, he immediately lays the retrieved paper on his desk. As he leaves...