What is the moment of the climax in the story "Contents of a Dead Man's Pocket."Jack Finney "Contents of a Dead Man's Pocket"

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The title, "Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket" so named by author Jack Finney, suggests a line on a police report that would indicate the yellow sheet of facts and figures which Tom Benecke has compiled over four long Saturdays and a dozen lunch hours in the hope of being promoted at his job.  It is this yellow sheet that Benecke has retrieved from the eleventh floor ledge of his apartment building that leads to the climax, or point of highest tension and suspense at which the main character alters his point of view. 

For, after the window slams shut on him, Tom Benecke realizes that he must find some way to enter his apartment because his wife will be gone too long at the movies for him to hang on and wait. As he contemplates his fate, Tom imagines,

All they'd find in his pockets would be the yellow sheet. Contents of the dead man's pockets, he thought, one sheet of paper bearing penciled notations—incomprehensible.

With this realization that he might actually die, Tom changes his point of view about the yellow sheet's value and the tension of the narrative increases.  This climax then leads to his resolve,

He was simply not going to cling here till he slipped and fell: he told himself that now.

And, then, he puts his final plan in action.  With determination, Tom resolves to break the glass of the window, knowing that he must succeed on the first attempt.


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