Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket Questions and Answers
by Jack Finney

Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What is the main internal conflict in "Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket"?

The main internal conflict in “Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket” is between Tom and his sense of fear. Out there on a window ledge, several stories high, Tom needs to keep cool and think straight if he's to get himself out of a jam. What makes matters more complicated is that he's also thinking about retrieving his work, which shouldn't be his main priority.

Expert Answers info

Steph Müller eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write1,344 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Business, and Social Sciences

In this story, Tom Benecke has got himself into quite a predicament, and I would argue that the crux of the internal conflict he experiences comes down to what he values more: his job or his life.

Tom gets a huge fright when the paper containing all his research flies out the window. Given how consumed he has become by his work—so much so that he's been neglecting his wife—it's not too surprising when he risks his life to climb out onto the window ledge to get it back. Everything changes, however, when the window slams shut and locks behind him.

Being a resourceful chap, Tom has the great idea of dropping things from his pockets to get the attention of people walking below. It doesn't immediately work, however, and soon he is left with only the paper to drop. This is where the internal conflict arises: Does he drop the paper and risk never retrieving it, or does he keep it with him and continue to risk his life by standing precariously on the window ledge and hoping that someone will...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 829 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write12,127 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write5,416 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial