How would you describe the relationship between Tom and his wife?

How would you describe the relationship between Tom and his wife in "Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket"?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tom and his wife have a precarious relationship. She loves him now, but he is in danger of losing her if he continues to disregard and neglect her the way he has been doing. She may accept his decision to stay in their apartment while he sends her off to a movie theater by herself, but she will feel hurt and resentful while sitting there all alone in the darkened auditorium and then having to walk back home alone. Watching the movie by herself would not be at all like enjoying it with her husband. Being all alone for several hours would remind her of how lonely she has felt lately with her husband absent at work and even absent at home, as he is not really thinking about her and not really with her. It would be ironic indeed if Tom managed to retrieve the paper he risked his life for, his proposal was a big success, and he obtained a promotion and a raise—and then found he lost his wife in the process. Tom takes his wife for granted. That can be very dangerous in any marriage. 

beateach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "Contents of the Dead Man’s Pockets” by Jack Finney, Tom and his wife have a congenial, comfortable relationship. They accommodate each other’s needs in a loving but distant way. When Tom’s wife is preparing to go out to a movie, she asks whether he would like to go because he previously expressed an interest in the show. But, she is understanding when he decides to stay home to work. He jokes with her about how she will enjoy having more money when he becomes a financial success. Before she goes out the door, he holds her close smelling her perfume. He is tempted to go with her, but pulls back. When Tom faces death on the ledge, he realizes how skewed his priorities are, and how dear his wife is to him. As soon as he is able to save himself, he rushes out to be with her.

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Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket

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