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In this story, the ordeal on the ledge (and what happens after Tom gets to safety) changes Tom's life by making him realize what is truly important.
At the beginning of the story, Tom thinks that work is the most important thing in the world. He is willing to essentially ignore his wife so he can get work done. But his ordeal on the ledge changes that. He realizes that his work really doesn't matter. What really matters is the people in our lives and our relationships with them.
By coming close to death, Tom realizes what is truly important in life.
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