Some Questions and Answers “Contents of Dead Man’s Pocket”

Length: 1999 words

1. (a) Recall: What document is Tom working on at the start of the story? (b) Analyze Cause and Effect: What long-term goals does he hope to achieve by this work? (c) Draw Conclusions: What does his plan tell you about his character? Ans : (a) Tom is working on a proposal for a new grocery-store display method. (b) He hopes it will advance his career. (c) Tom is ambitious and cares deeply about his work.

2. (a) Recall: Why does Tom go out on the ledge? (b) Connect: Is his decision surprising given his character? Explain. Ans: (a) Tom goes out on the ledge to retrieve a sheet of statistics. (b) No, Tom seems to be completely consumed with ambition.

3. (a) Compare and Contrast: Contrast Tom’s attitude toward life at the beginning of the story with his attitude at the end. (b) Infer: What causes his attitude to change? (c) Speculate: What changes, if any, will Tom make as a result of this experience? Ans: (a) At the beginning, Tom is interested only in his work; at the end, he realizes that his relationship with his wife is more important. (b) His close encounter with death makes him realize what is

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important to him. c) He will probably spend more time enjoying life with his wife.

4. (a) Evaluate: Do you think that a movie based on Finney’s story would be as effective as the story itself? Why or why not? (b) Discuss: Share and discuss responses with a partner. Then, discuss whether your partner’s response has changed or expanded your own thinking. Ans : a movie version would be difficult because so much “action” takes place in Tom’s mind. (b) and (c) There is only one main character and little dialogue.

contents of the dead man's pocket questions and answers

5. (a) What is the main external conflict in this story? Explain. (b) What is the main internal conflict in the story? Explain. Ans : (a) The main external conflict is Tom’s struggle to escape the ledge. (b) The main internal conflict is between Tom’s ambition and his love for his wife.

6. (a) How are Tom’s conflicts resolved? (b) Describe an alternative resolution the story might have had. Ans : (a) Tom’s external conflict is resolved when he breaks the window. His internal conflict is resolved when he lets the yellow sheet float back out the window. (b) Possible response: The yellow sheet stays in the room, Tom gets a promotion, but his wife gets tired of being alone and leaves him. Critical Review of Contents of Dead Man’s Pocket In this review the short story Contents of the Dead Man’s Pocket by Jack Finney is critically assessed. I liked the story as the author uses a very ordinary person, placed in an extraordinary setting, to build up a very believable high suspense short story. One keeps on expecting Tom to fall to his death, eleven stories down, while trying to recover his research paper thus creating a lot of empathy for him and his position. The suspense is enhanced by the title of the story.

I liked the character, Tom Benecke, as he is a hard working person that put his future success ahead of short term pleasures. In fact, he is even prepared to risk his life to pursue his dream of being the “Boy Wizard of Wholesale Groceries. ” As the story unfolds it is clear that Tom is ambitious, self-centered, and impatient. These three traits change significantly throughout the story. Towards the end of the story Tom realizes that his priorities are unbalanced once faced with the reality of death. He realizes how important his wife is to him.

This forces him to be strong and stay alive, for her sake. The only reason he made it back into the apartment was because of how much he cared for her. In the end he concluded that he needs to spend more time with his wife . This is when the author allows the old Tom to die on the ledge and a new Tom is born. The new Tom is prepared to change and grow over time, given the dramatic experience he had in retrieving the yellow piece of paper. The round and dynamic character of Tom is believably portrayed and makes me like him even more.

The author utilized setting expertly as he casually introduces the fact that the apartment is on the eleventh floor of a New York apartment building during the first few paragraphs of the story. The scene is further set when the contrast between the warmth in the apartment and the coldness of the ledge is portrayed when his wife leaves for the movies. An additional contrast in setting is created as he will be working, and later be stuck on the cold ledge, fighting for his life, while his wife is relaxing in the comfort of the theatre.

The author utilizes a narrator with an omniscient point of view. This allows the reader to get an insight into the thoughts and feelings of Tom. The use of this type of narrator also allows the author to control what and how much is revealed to the reader in building suspense. The point of view used influences the effectiveness of suspense as the narrator reveals the various thoughts and feelings of Tom at the correct point in the development of the story to keep the reader absorbed by the developments.

The narrator’s perspective affects your understanding of the story. The tone in this story is seemingly neutral and factual, but on closer assessment it becomes clear that the author, Jack Finney, portrays a sympathetic view towards the character Tom Benecke. The way the narrator is telling the story results in a lot of suspense. Will Tom go out on the ledge? Will he be able to retrieve the yellow paper? Will he be able to stay on to the ledge? Will he be able to get anybodies attention to help him and will he be able to get back in the apartment? All hese questions are gradually introduces and answered by the narrator as the rising action builds up to the climax in the story when Tom resolves the conflict by striking the glass with his last grain of strength. By utilizing a narrator with an omniscient point of view Jack Finney is able to use various complications such as the setting, the mindset of Tom Benecke, and also Tom’s rescue efforts help expand the amount of suspense. He also uses key aspects in the setting such as the weather and Tom’s location to create complications, which help lead to a lot of suspense.

“Contents Of The Dead Man’s Pockets” Main Character Essay “Contents Of The Dead Man’s Pockets” Main Character Essay In the story, “Contents of the Dead Man’s Pocket,” the main character is Tom Benecke. As the story progresses, he is faced with many decisions. He is forced to act quickly and because of this, many things about him change. In the story, Tom is ambitious, self-centered, and impatient. These three traits change significantly throughout the story. Tom is a very ambitious person when it comes to his work. He is caught up in getting a promotion from work by doing a project.

Tom just focuses on the “big picture,” which is his future, rather than the “small picture,” which is what his wife is doing. This trait changes at the end when he decides to go to the movies with his wife. When the paper flew out the window for the second time, he realized that he can do the paper over again but he can never take back that one specific night he could have spent with his wife. At the beginning, Tom is very self-centered and preoccupied with his work. He finds what he wants to do more important than what his wife wants to do that night. Once faced with the reality of death, he realizes how important his wife is to him.

This forces him to be strong and stay alive, for her sake. The only reason he made it back into his house was because of how much he cared for her. Tom then decides to go find her at the movies, which shows that he has become less self-centered and more aware of his wife’s feelings. Tom knows that his project can wait, but he has to have it done so his boss can read it over the weekend. The fact that his work couldn’t wait until he got back from the movies shows what an impatient person he is. When Tom is out on the ledge retrieving his paper, he is forced to be very patient and to take things one step at a time. These incidents change his traits and make him more aware of his surroundings.

Answers for Questions on page 42 “Monkey’s Paw”

1. What is the most frightening moment in the story? Why? Ans :the most frightening moment is when there is a knock at the door in the middle of the night. It might be the mutilated Herbert.

2. How does each of the Whites react when first hearingthe legend of the monkey’s paw? (b) How do the reactions of the mother and the father change? Ans :(a) At first, Mr. White believes in the paw, Mrs. White is dubious,and Herbert is cynical and amused. (b) White comes to fear the paw; Mrs. White hopes it will restore her son.

3. (a) Recall: What event fulfills Mr. White’s first wish? (b) Make aJudgment: Do you think the first wish really “comes true,” or is there just a coincidence of events? Explain. Ans : (a) Herbert’s fatal accident fulfills the wish for money. (b) The amount is exactly what they have wished for, and it arrives promptly after the wish is made.

4. (a) Recall: How does Mr. White word his first wish? (b) Infer:What painful outcome seems to follow from his wording? Ans: (a) “I wish for two hundred pounds. ” (b) Mr. White fails to include a qualifier in his wish to prevent tragic consequences.

5.Draw Conclusions: Explain whether you think the events of the story prove the fakir’s point that “fate ruled people’s lives and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow. ” Ans: Yes, the Whites have broughttragedy into their lives by tryingto change their fates.

6. What information about the paw is given in the exposition? Ans: Readers are told that the monkey’s paw has been enchanted by a fakir, that it has the power to grant three wishes to three separate people, that the wishes have consequences, that one set of wishes remains.

7. (a) Describe three events in the rising action that increase the tension in the plot. b) Where does the story reach its climax? Ans: (a) Rising action includes Mr. White’s first wish, Herbert’s death,Mr. White’s realization that his son’s death is the consequence of his wish, Mrs. White’s insistence that Mr. White wish for Herbert’s return, and the mysterious knocks on the door. (b) The story reaches its climax when Mr. White makes the last wish as his wife struggles to open the door.

8. Identify two details that foreshadow the tragic outcome of thefirst wish. Ans: Morris’s grim words and manner,Mr. White dropping the pawwith a “shuddering cry,” and thefaces Herbert sees in the fire foreshadowthe tragic outcome ofthe wish. . (a) Using a chart like the one shown, indicate how you used your prior knowledge to make a prediction about one of the wishes. (b) How close was your prediction to the actual outcome? Explain your answer. Ans: Story Detail: Mr. White wishes for two hundred pounds. Similar Plots:When characters are warned there will be consequences, it foreshadows a tragic outcome. How People Act: People as cynical as Herbert are often taken by surprise. Prediction: The wish will be granted, but something bad will happen to Herbert. b-Predictions are likely to be fairly accurate.

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