Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket Questions and Answers
by Jack Finney

Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket book cover
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How can I predict what might happen next in the story, and how can I explain a prediction regarding the excerpt below from "Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket" by Jack Finney? Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket by Jack Finney [Excerpt] He watched her walk down the hall, flicked a hand in response as she waved, and then he started to close the door, but it resisted for a moment. As the door opening narrowed, the current of warm air from the hallway, channeled through this smaller opening now, suddenly rushed past him with accelerated force. Behind him he heard the slap of the window curtains against the wall and the sound of paper fluttering from his desk, and he had to push to close the door. Turning, he saw a sheet of white paper drifting to the floor in a series of arcs, and another sheet, yellow, moving toward the window, caught in the dying current flowing through the narrow opening. As he watched, the paper struck the bottom edge of the window and hung there for an instant, plastered against the glass and wood. Then as the moving air stilled completely, the curtains swinging back from the wall to hang free again, he saw the yellow sheet drop to the window ledge and slide over out of sight.

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In one sense, authors don't want readers to be able to predict what will happen: if you can predict it all, why write it? Yet in another sense, author's provide foreshadowing and thematic elements or indicators in the text, especially in the exposition, in order to orient readers to the progression of the story. Therefore, in order to predict what happens next after the quotation from the final part of the story exposition (introducing the problem), look for foreshadowing and thematic elements or indicators. Your explanation of the predictions you form from these clues will be in terms of foreshadowing and clues to or indicators of the theme. Let's look and see if we can find one or two of each; others, you will be able to then find yourself.

Foreshadowing: (1) Tom had so markedly paid attention to his "creased yellow sheet" and the narrator (who seems to speak with Tom's voice through indirect dialogue) spends such effort describing the significance of the task Tom wants to work on (typing an...

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