Contents Of The Dead ManS Pocket Essay

?Contents Of The Dead Man?S Pocket.? Essay, Research Paper


Setting, sometimes background, may be significant elements in a plot, determining the scope in every atmosphere of the story. Without an interesting background, some stories would simply not exist.

Take for instance “Contents of the Dead Man’s Pocket.” The plot is a Workaholic named Tom Benecke who lives in an apartment eleven stories high on Lexington Avenue. his wife had left to go to the movies so that he could finish a project three months in the making. All the sudden a quick gust of wind blows it out and after much deliberation he decides to go out after it. Once he is out and on the window sill he finds that there is a good chance that he could fall to his death so he gets very freighted. One thing leads to another and he gets the sheet and breaks through his window to get back inside. Through all of this he had the time to look on his life and think about all the times he left his wife, Clare, alone. In the end he leaves and notices that the sheet flies back out of the window and doesn’t even care. Plot played a very large part in this story. for instance if the apartment building was on the first floor then he wouldn’t be nearly as frightened. Or if his wife stayed home instead of going to the cinema he could have gotten her help, or she could have talked him into not going out there at all. Since the writer did a good job of describing what the plot was we know the kind of despair he was going through and can feel more of what he feels.

Sometimes not only plot but background plays an important role as in “The Masque of the Red Death” . The story covers a period of approximately six months during the reign of the Red Death. The Red Death is much like the Black Death or the bubonic plague of the Middle Ages as well as the cholera epidemics that ravaged Philadelphia in the 1790’s and Baltimore in his own lifetime. However, in this story, the plague takes the unusual form of a red death rather than a black one so that blood, the very substance of life, now becomes the mark of death.

The action takes place in “the deep seclusion of one of Prince Prospero’s castellated abbeys.” The “masque” takes place in the imperial suite which consisted of seven, very distinct rooms. the seven rooms represent the seven stages of one’s life, from birth to death, through which the prince pursues a figure masked as a victim of the Red Death, only to die himself in the final chamber of eternal night. The prince’s name suggests happiness and good fortune. As one can see, there is not only emphasis on background but on symbols such as the number seven and the rooms themselves.

The third Story that relies heavily on setting is “The Open Window” by Saki. This tale involves a small town with just a few houses, a young girl, and a lot of time on her hands. The plot is a man by the name of Framton Nuttel who has a problem with his nerves and goes to a lady named Mrs. Sappleton to correct it. She leaves after introducing herself and Mr. Nuttel is left with her niece, a young girl of fifteen. when he asks if Mrs. Sappleton is married or widowed, the niece begins to tell a tragic tale about how her husband dying while hunting one evening three years ago. this frightens the poor man and when he see the figures of her Mr. Sappleton and his brothers he runs off mad. When Mrs. Sappleton comes back she asks the youth were Mr. Nuttel went and she tells yet another tale of how he was chased my dogs long ago and had to spend a night in a grave while the creatures growled at him from above. The story ends with this saying ”romance at short notice was her specialty”

As you can see in this story, like the stories before need a great detail of setting to get to in the story and care about the characters. Setting is a very useful tool that is needed to make either a short story or a classic.


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