In "Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket," what are two ways the story uses man verus society? What are details about man versus society in the story?

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ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several examples of man vs society in "Contents of A Dead Man's Pockets.

"One example is when Tom is out on the ledge "And he remembered how habitually, here in New York, he himself heard and ignored shouts in the night. If anyone heard him, there was no sign of it, and presently Tom Benecke knew he had to try moving; there was nothing else he could do."

Another example from the story is when Tom is looking around trying to find help. 

"No more than twenty-odd yards from his back were scores of people, and if just one of them would walk idly to his window and glance out. … For some moments he stared over his shoulder at the lighted rectangles, waiting. But no one appeared. The man reading his paper turned a page and then continued his reading."

A final example of man versus society:

"There were a dozen coins in Tom Benecke's pocket and he dropped them, three or four at a time. But if they struck anyone, or if anyone noticed their falling, no one connected them with their source.

It occurred to him irrelevantly that his death on the sidewalk below would be an eternal mystery; the window closed—why, how, and from where could he have fallen? No one would be able to identify his body for a time, either—the thought was somehow unbearable and increased his fear."


Read the study guide:
Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket

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