Which part of the story "Content of the Dead Man's Pocket" did you react to the strongest?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Most narratives are designed so that the climax is the most intense and exciting moment; therefore, readers usually react the strongest to this part of the plot. But, often the rising action is intense, as well. One moment that certainly raises a strong response from readers is Tom's near fall off the ledge of his apartment building.

After having rashly gone out onto the ledge of his apartment building eleven stories above the street in order to retrieve his yellow worksheet which represents hours and hours of research done on his own time to get ahead of others with whom he competes at work, Tom retrieves his valuable sheet. However, on his way back to the open window of his apartment, Tom begins to think about the security of his apartment:

The impossible remoteness of this utter safety, the contrast between it and where he now stood, was more than he could bear. And the barrier broke then, and the fear of the awful height he stood on coursed through his nerves and muscles.

At this point Tom stumbles and almost falls off the ledge. He grabs for the window, landing on his knees, but the weight of his sagging body causes the window to drop "shudderingly in its frame till it closed." Tom struggles to maintain his balance, having to concentrate all his senses upon pulling himself up against the glass of the window. This is a frightening moment, as Tom nearly dies, and he is now faced with no easy way to re-enter his apartment.

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Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket

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