How does Tom's life change as a result of his ordeal on the ledge in "Contents of the Dead Man's Pockets"?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Tom Benecke's near-death experience effects his realization of what is truly valuable. Once he finally is able to re-enter the apartment, Tom takes inventory of what he has valued and what he has done.

He simply turned to his desk, pulled the curmpled yellow sheet from his pocket and laid it down where it had been, smoothing it out; then he absently laid a pencil across it to weigh it down. He shook his head wonderingly, and turned to walk to the closet.

When Tom opens the door, the wind causes the yellow sheet which has been weighed down by only a pencil, to lift into the air, and fly out into the air. Tom laughs and then closes the door behind him. His laughter, thus, demonstrates the change in Tom: he has realized what is truly important, his marriage to his wife. So, Tom ignores the yellow spreadsheet and hurries on to the cinema where he can watch a  movie with his wife.


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