Homework Help

What internal conflict does Tom's external conflict cause in "Contents of the Dead...

user profile pic

princesseli5 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 15, 2010 at 9:27 AM via web

dislike 2 like

What internal conflict does Tom's external conflict cause in "Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket"?

What event introduces a new obstacle in Tom's journey?

2 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted March 15, 2010 at 12:50 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 3 like

Tom's external conflict is his attempt to retrieve the paper that flies out of his window. He has spent all of his free time working on this research in order to get a promotion at his job. In doing so, Tom has neglected his wife, putting his work above their relationship and marriage. Tom climbs out onto the ledge and almost falls eleven stories trying to get the paper back. It is at this point that he realizes he has spent too much of his time trying to get ahead instead of enjoying life with his wife and accomplishing something of importance in his life. This is his internal conflict. When Tom does get his paper and reaches the window of his apartment, the windowm slams shut, and he must overcome this new obstacle.

user profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 15, 2010 at 9:33 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 2 like

To me, the external conflict is between Tom and the building.  It is between Tom and death.  He is out there on the ledge, fighting against death.

This causes an internal conflict.  It causes him to start thinking about what is really important in his life.  He comes to question whether he is spending too much time and emotional energy on his work.  He has to decide whether his work is more important than his personal life.

I think the new obstacle you are talking about is when the paper flies out the window.  Now he has to do it all over again.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes