Tom Benecke in “Contents of the Dead Man’s Pocket”

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket


Tom's Character Evolution in Contents of the Dead Man's Pockets

Example



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Activity Overview


Tom Benecke’s priorities change significantly throughout the short story “Contents of the Dead Man’s Pocket”. Use the activity for Character Evolution with your students to help them keep track of how Tom evolves throughout the course of his ordeal.

Example Character Evolution for Tom Benecke


Plot

Traits

Explanation

ExpositionDark-haired young man, tall, lean, pullover sweater. Works hard; wants to make a difference in his grocery industry. Tom is skipping the movies with his wife to stay home and work on an independent project. He kids that his work will someday earn him the title of “The Boy Wizard of Wholesale Groceries.”
Conflict/
Rising Action
Desperate; unable to abandon the sheet of paper Tom is unable to understand that he should abandon the sheet of paper. It has weeks’ worth of research on it for a new kind of grocery-store display. The time to present the idea is now for use in the spring displays. To replicate the work, it would take him two whole months.
ClimaxCalm, cool, and collected; methodical, until he stoops down to grab the paper; then he becomes panicked, frozen, and clumsy Tom initially goes out to retrieve the paper carefully, but without much concern. As Tom bends down to retrieve the paper, the true danger of his situation becomes clear as he views the street 11 stories below him.
Falling ActionFrightened; delirious; realistic Tom reaches the window and it slams shut on him as he grasps it to keep from falling. He thinks that it would be funny if he were to wait out on the ledge and Clare came home to find him there, and he almost laughs out loud. He looks at his watch, however, and realizes she’s only been gone eight minutes and will probably be gone four hours. He knows he needs to get inside. He screams “Clare!” and punches in the window.
ResolutionElated; energized; prioritized As soon as Tom is back in the apartment, he goes straight to the closet to get his coat and join Clare. He gives no more thought to working that night; he is grateful to be alive. As he watches the paper fly back out the window, he laughs and closes the door; he finally realizes that work is not more important than his life.


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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows the evolution of Tom Benecke throughout the course of "Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket".


  1. Use the Character Evolution Template to get started.
  2. Break the story down into Exposition, Conflict/Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution. What traits does Tom have?
  3. Illustrate one or more of the traits for each stage of the story.
  4. Identify major events in each part of the story that affected Tom.

Character Evolution Template - Novel/Story

Template


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