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Eng 10 - the Balance of Priorities

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Trinity Jimenez


English 10

9 December 2017

The Balance of Priorities

Most people would agree that in like family should be the first priority. The author, Jack Finney, accentuates this in his short story “Contents of a Dead Man’s Pocket”. The story’s protagonist, Tom Beneke, has an option to go with his wife to the movies or stay at home to work. Much like Tom, people tend to put unnecessary ideas before the relevant ones, taking those that are truly significant for granted. Tom learns that his wife is more valuable than work after a life or death situation.

After Tom’s wife leaves his yellow file flies out of the window, which he decides to recover it. On a ledge with the file, he can not seem to get back in through the window. He realizes the only way back in was “his fist striking this glass and being instantaneously flung back by the unbreaking pane”. This illustrates the risk he was willing to take for his work. As well as showing a regret feeling whereas he knew he’d rather be with his wife then out on a ledge.

Tom's attaining his life or death situation, once again his yellow file flies out of the window. Leaving to go meet his wife, ”he saw the yellow paper….sail out into the night and out of his life..Tom Beneke burst into laughter and then closed the door behind him”. This emphasizes how he believes seeing his wife is more important because if he would have fell to his death if nobody would’ve cared except his wife. This was very clear for Tom in the fact that he had just experienced risking his life for work which actually including risking his marriage.

In conclusion, Tom discovers what deserves his time in life in order to love life. He learns he needs to balance work with what’s really important to him, his wife. As well as being too materialistic and now knows how to prioritize the importance of life rather than his needs. In the end when Tom's life is on the line and being able to realize he was going to lose everything for work he noticed in, that moment he should have been with his wife.



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