Describe Tom and Clare from "Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket"

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Clare and Tom Benecke are a young married couple who live in Manhattan, New York City, on Lexington Avenue in a high-rise on the eleventh floor. Tom is an up-and-coming young salesman in the grocery business, and his wife Clare is a very pretty young woman with a sanguine personality.

While there is no mention that Clare does not work, since the story has its setting in the 1950's, it is safe to assume that she is a housewife. There is no physical description of Tom, but he is young since he refers to himself as "the Boy Wizard of Wholesale Groceries" when he offers his excuse for not accompanying his wife to the movies. Also, they have no children yet, and Clare is described asĀ 

a slender, very pretty girl with light brown, almost blonde, hair--her prettiness emphasized by the pleasant nature that showed in her face.

Tom is so highly motivated to get ahead of others that he chooses to work on his sales project rather than accompany his pretty wife to the cinema. Further, he is reckless because he goes out onto the apartment building ledge to retrieve his yellow sheet that contains all the data he has compiled for weeks. In fact, it takes a near-death experience for Tom to reassess his values. For, after he finally succeeds in gaining entry to the apartment he hurries to catch his wife at the movies; furthermore, when the draft again sends the yellow sheet out the broken window, Tom simply watches it go and then bursts into laughter as he shuts the apartment door behind him.

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Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket

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