Contents of the Dead Man*s Pocket

• New York City
• 11th story apartment on Lexington
• Autumn
• 1950’s
• Tom Benecke:
• Tall, lean, dark hair, athletic
• Hard-working, self-motivated, dedicated
• Works in the marketing department for a wholesale grocery
• Clare Benecke:
• Slender, very pretty, light-brown hair
• Very pleasant
• Thinks her husband works too much
• Tom Benecke is our main character and
protagonist. He is working on a self-created
assignment for work when his hand-written
notes blow out the window onto the 11th
story ledge.
• The antagonist could be the conditions for
which the story is set: the wind, the ledge,
the yellow piece of paper itself that seems
to elude Tom at every turn.
• Man vs. Self:
• Tom has a constant internal struggle throughout the
story. His work ethic is battling his desire to spend
time with his wife. He ultimately decides life is too
short and must be lived to the fullest
• He also struggles internally about whether or not to
go out on the ledge to retrieve the yellow sheet of
paper. Is his hard work worth risking his life?
• Man vs. Abstract Forces:
• Tom must battle the elements when out on the
• Life is short; live it to the fullest
• Tom decides at the end of the story
that he is wasting his time being a
work-a-holic. After having this
awakening, he decides to go out to
find his wife at the movie theater.
• Exposition:
• Tom Benecke decides to skip going to the
movies with his wife in order to work on a
self-created project that he is hoping will
advance his career in marketing.
• Tom opens the window for some fresh air
when a yellow sheet of paper blows
outside. This sheet happens to contain
months of research and pain-staking work
that cannot be duplicated.
• Rising Action:
• Tom decides the paper is too precious to lose and
climbs out the window.
• At first, he is confident, but slowly realizes he is in
far over his head.
• He cries for help with no response. He tries to
break the window with no luck. He sets pieces of
paper on fire to get someone’s attention without
success. He drops coins from his pocket. No one
looks up. He is in a state of sheer panic.
• Climax:
• In a state of hopelessness, Tom thinks of his
wife. He thinks of all the days he’s spent
working too hard and missing quality time
with her. He decides his life is worth saving.
He draws his fist backward and yells his
wife’s name as he shatters the window.
• Falling Action:
• After climbing in the window, Tom wastes no time
getting comfortable. He decides to take
immediate action and go find his wife.
• Resolution:
• He grabs his coat and hat as he walks out the
door. Just as he is closing the door to leave, he
glimpses inside in time to see the yellow sheet of
paper fly out the window once again.
• Pg. 7, 3rd paragraph
• “But as usual the window didn’t budge, and he
had to lower his hands and then shoot them hard
upward to jolt the window open a few inches. He
dusted his hand, muttering.”
• Pg. 8, 2nd paragraph
• “Behind him he heard the slap of the window
curtains against the wall and the sound of paper
fluttering from his desk, and he had to push to
close the door.”
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