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

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What is the suspense in "Contents of the Dead Man's Pockets"?

Suspense in "Contents of the Dead Man's Pockets" is created by an intense third-person limited point of view and ever-increasing levels of tension in a life-or-death situation.

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In the short story "Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket" by Jack Finney, A man named Tom Benecke is alone in his eleventh-floor apartment working after his wife leaves for a movie. The paper with all his notes is swept out the window by the wind and lodges on a ledge. Benecke decides to retrieve it and gets caught outside, endangering his life.

The suspense in this story is achieved by putting the character in a life-and-death situation, but it works well, because the author maintains a very intense third-person point of view in which readers are aware of the protagonist's thoughts and sensations. This technique makes it seem as though readers are caught up in the danger along with Benecke. Additionally, Finney increases the tension step by step as the story progresses.

At first, the only thing that is at stake is somehow retrieving the lost paper. We find out that this paper is important to Benecke because it will help advance his career. We sympathize with his efforts to get it back....

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