How long would it take for Tom to reproduce the work on the yellow paper that blows away in "Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket"?  

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Tom loses his yellow sheet, he contemplates that he can duplicate the work, but it will take him two months to do so. 

When the yellow sheet leaves his desk for the dangerous ledge eleven stories high, Tom incredulously attempts to comprehend that he is going to have to abandon his money-making plan for a new grocery display. Through his mind runs the dozen lunch hours, evenings, and trips to the Public Library on Fifth Avenue that he has accrued in his efforts to finish before the Spring displays are made.

This overriding recall of his many hours of work and the potential loss of his success over others and a promotion, causes Tom to pause. 

...he couldn't escape the thought, this and other independent projects...would gradually mark him out from the score of other young men in his company....And he knew he was going out there in the darkness, after the yellow sheet....

Therefore, in his cupidity Tom abandons good sense and risks his life in order to retrieve the yellow sheet. However, once out on the dangerous high-rise ledge, Tom realizes the folly of his reckless efforts. He contemplates what puzzlement his death would bring if he should fall and all they would find in his pocket would be a meaningless yellow sheet.

 

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Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket

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