What is the setting of "Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket?"

The setting of "Contents of a Dead Man's Pocket" is Lexington Avenue, New York City. More specifically, most of the action takes place on the window ledge outside an eleventh-floor apartment.

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Jack Finney's "Contents of a Dead Man's Pocket" was first published in 1956 and seems to be set at approximately that time in New York City, specifically on a ledge outside an apartment on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. This is a few years before the time in which the popular television series Mad Men is set, and Tom Benecke's apartment is only two blocks from Madison Avenue, where his office may well be. The setting, therefore, is within the cutthroat corporate world of the 1950s. Young men like Tom were struggling to get ahead, reading self-help books by gurus such as Norman Vincent Peale (whose influential work The Power of Positive Thinking was first published in 1952).

Several aspects of this setting are significant. In the first place, it helps to explain why Tom would be so eager and go to such lengths to retrieve his piece of paper. The corporate culture of the era emphasized the importance of small advantages. A clever remark in a meeting or a minute talking to the right executive in the elevator might mean promotion. The setting also stresses the idea of Tom being alone—not quite in the midst of a crowd, but high above one. In the greatest city in the world, people are too preoccupied with their thoughts to look up or notice a man on the verge of death.

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The New York setting of the story is entirely appropriate, as Tom is very much the product of the big city and its values. Ambitious, hard-working, and driven, Tom shares the same outlook on life as millions of his fellow New Yorkers. In fact, it could be any one of them out there on that ledge, desperately scrambling around for a lost piece of paper needed to get ahead at work.

Specifically, Tom lives in Manhattan, the thriving, beating heart of the city and the place where so many big businesses are based. And the values encapsulated by those businesses have been imbibed by their employees, including Tom, who's initially prepared to risk his own neck for them.

Clearly, the big city and its corporate values have led Tom astray, away from what really matters in life. In venturing out onto the ledge to retrieve his paper he's effectively putting his work before himself and his family. He's even putting it before his own life.

Thankfully, Tom eventually snaps out of this warped attitude and realizes that his values have been askew. But they're the values by which so many of his fellow New Yorkers live and will continue to live long after he's climbed back inside his apartment.

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This story is set in New York City. More specifically, a lot of the action centers around the ledge outside Tom Benecke’s eleventh floor apartment.

Benecke is a workaholic in the advertising industry and is working on a project that seems likely to bring him both prestige and a bigger paycheck. When a gust of wind brought on by his wife’s exit from the room leads to the paper he has been working on for over a month being blown out of the window, Benecke will stop at nothing to retrieve it. To this end, he risks his life (and, I would argue, his sanity) by climbing out onto the narrow ledge high above Lexington Avenue.

This incredibly dangerous setting eventually leads Tom to the realization that his dedication to his work had gone too far. He suddenly understands that if he fell to his death, someone else would simply take over his work, and there would be nothing of him left.

Once he eventually manages to get back inside, there is another gust of wind, and Tom’s precious paper is sent straight back out of the window. Having had a change of heart in light of his near-death experience, Tom watches it go and laughs, showing that his work is no longer his whole life nor his top priority.

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The setting of the story is an apartment on Lexington Avenue near 50th Street on Manhattan's East Side. Tom Benecke lives in this 11th floor apartment with his wife, Clare. Much of the story takes place on the ledge outside his apartment. Tom watches a yellow paper that he needs to complete his work towards a promotion at work fly out of the window. It lands against the corner that is formed by his apartment and the living room of the apartment that is south of his, as the other apartment projects out a yard beyond his own apartment. Tom walks out on the ledge that leads about 15 feet to where the sheet is plastered against the corner formed by the two walls. The ledge is about as wide as his shoe, and each fifth row of brick is indented half an inch, leading him to believe he can maintain his grasp as he walks along the ledge to retrieve the lost yellow paper.

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The place setting of Jack Finney's short story "Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket" is New York City, specifically a high rise apartment building on Lexington Avenue on the city's East Side. The time setting is post–World War II, the mid-1950s.

Colloquially abbreviated as "Lex," Lexington Avenue is a large street located on New York's East Side in the borough of Manhattan. Manhattan, of course, is today an area of New York with a high cost of living; however, at the time of Finney's story, which was published in 1956, this area was populated more by a rising middle-class that emerged after the war when there was a strong economy. Finney perceived this era as one in which men became overly concerned about material possessions and success, much to the detriment of family life. His main character in this story, Tom Benecke, spends hours each weekend working on his grocery store project rather than occupying his time with his wife. It is only after he risks his life to retrieve his yellow worksheet which blows out the window of his eleventh-floor apartment that Tom realizes the absurdity of basing his existence upon monetary success.

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