man's feet dangling above a window outside a building

Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket

by Jack Finney

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What method does Tom use to first break the window glass?

Quick answer:

The first methods Tom uses to try to break the window glass include using the heel of his hand, a half-dollar coin, and his leather shoe. When these clearly fail, he realizes that he is going to have to put all of his strength into one, decisive blow.

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The first method Tom uses to try to break the window into his apartment is to strike it with the heel of his hand, the firm part of the palm just above the wrist joint. This doesn't work. Next, he takes a half-dollar coin out of his pocket and uses it to strike at the glass, and this fails as well, though he didn't really expect it to work. Third, Tom takes off his shoe and strikes the window as hard as he can with the leather heel, but he knows that he comes nowhere close to actually breaking through the glass with this tactic either. These all seem like rather half-hearted attempts to test the strength of the glass and determine exactly how much force will be necessary to break through it.

Tom knows that he does not really have the leverage to be able to pound at the glass, and the glass is thick enough that the rebound from any blow that doesn't smash it will likely send him careening backward off the ledge—eleven stories up. Ultimately, he puts all his strength into one terrible blow, screaming his wife's name, knowing that this punch will either save his life or result in his death.

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