man's feet dangling above a window outside a building

Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket

by Jack Finney
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How does Tom try to attract attention? Why is he unsuccessful?

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In “Contents of a Dead Man’s Pocket” by Jack Finney, Tom Benecke makes a number of attempts to garner attention to his situation on the ledge of his apartment building.

At first, as Tom is perched on the ledge high above Lexington Avenue, he attempts to cry out for...

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In “Contents of a Dead Man’s Pocket” by Jack Finney, Tom Benecke makes a number of attempts to garner attention to his situation on the ledge of his apartment building.

At first, as Tom is perched on the ledge high above Lexington Avenue, he attempts to cry out for help. He waits for a lull in the traffic noise of the busy thoroughfare below him before he calls for help. Unfortunately, his attempt is futile as the wind carries his calls away.

In his next attempt, he reaches into his pocket and pulls out an envelope and a book of matches. Working carefully, he finagles a way to light the envelope on fire, hoping to attract the attention of a man reading a paper in a window across the way. The wind blows the small flame out, and Tom realizes no one would notice such a small flare. He tries three more times with pieces of paper from his pocket.

Finally, Tom takes coins out of his pocket and drops them to the ground, hoping to attract the attention someone on the sidewalk below him. Again, he is unsuccessful, because no one notices the coins.

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.

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