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Contents Of The Dead Man's Pockets

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Jack Finney uses Tom Benecke’s epiphany to illustrate that it is not the materialistic things in life that matter, but rather the relationships that are formed, that account for life’s greatest moments in the short story “Contents of the Dead Man’s Pockets”. An epiphany is a sudden realization that occurs in literature. In the story, Tom’s epiphany occurs to him during a near death experience in his attempt to retrieve an important piece of paper from a ledge. Short Stories for Students depicts that “Tom's epiphany occurs when he realizes that he has nothing in his pockets except for the yellow piece of paper filled with his incomprehensible notes. . . . This, in turn, leads him to the larger truth: he has been living a wasted life" (“‘Contents’”…show more content…
This sudden action illuminates on Tom's true goal in life. It shows that his life is not about the paper but about the people he surrounds himself with. The mere fact that Tom's potential final thoughts would be of Clare really puts his mindset into perspective. Not only does Tom not care about the piece of paper, but his final moments would be thinking of Clare.. Towards the end of the story “As he saw the yellow paper...sail out into the night and out of his life, Tom Benecke burst into laughter and then closed the door behind him” (Finney 18). Tom’s change of character demonstrates the effects of his epiphany on the ledge. Presumably Tom will meet up with his wife and this final action shows how his values in life have changed for what truly makes him happy. As a result of nearly dying for a worthless piece of paper Tom realizes that it is his wife who he most cares about. Tom gives up what he possess for his wife; the one he cares for. In incorporating the main character’s epiphany into “Contents of the Dead Man’s Pockets”, Jack Finney portrays that life’s most important values come through love and cared ones in place of
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