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In "Contents of a Dead Mans Pocket" what is the theme? Can anyone describe in in a way...

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boo52 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 10, 2009 at 8:05 AM via web

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In "Contents of a Dead Mans Pocket" what is the theme? Can anyone describe in in a way that is simplier than "its revelation about life"?

We need to infer something about the theme and compare it to the theme of a poem we are to read also.

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 12, 2009 at 5:47 AM (Answer #1)

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In the story, Tom Benecke experiences a dramatic revelation about his own life and how he has been spending it. He is an ambitious young man who has dedicated all of his waking hours to getting ahead in his job. He has been obsessed with achieving professional success, even at the expense of his relationship with his wife, Clare. When the story begins, Tom sends Clare off to the movies alone so that he can continue working. When he has his near-death experience trapped on the ledge far above the street below, Tom realizes the truth of how he has been living. He realizes that he has sacrificed too much of his life in the pursuit of material success. This, then, becomes the central theme of the story. Our lives have little value if we do not live them well. Becoming obsessed with work and success at the expense of those we love is not a good or wise way to live. "Success" is not success when it is purchased at too high a price.

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