English 10, Period 6
October 28, 2009
Marxist View on Contents of the Dead Man’s Pocket
Marxist critique focuses mainly on a class structure and economic conditions. In the story, Contents of the Dead Man’s Pocket, the main character goes through a struggle driven by the dream of eminence and economic success. You can look at this story though a Marxist perspective, analyzing how the literature demonstrates the status quo of a class system, and how characters pursue wealth and success. The study of this demonstrates how that drive for wealth and success generally classifies the characters and the text.
A Marxism critical analysis may include determining how the story demonstrates the status quo, or how it might try to overcome the status quo of the class system (The status quo being people not coming out of their class, no one moves up and no one moves down). The story Contents of the Dead Man’s Pocket is a general example of the status quo and how one might try to overcome it, but in the end remains where they started and failed in their attempt to gain status and success in their life. Tom Benecke is a working class man living in a small apartment on Lexington Avenue in New York City with his wife (Finney 6). He has done countless hours of extra work to show to his boss, all written down on that one yellow sheet of paper that flew out the window (7). His work would hopefully make him “change from a name on the payroll to a name on the minds of the company officials” (8). He believes that the work he has done on that yellow sheet of paper is “the beginning of the long, long climb to where he was determined to be-at the very top” (8). Despite the efforts he made to recover it (8-16), it was still lost, flying back out the window once he brought it back in (16). His hopes for promotion and success were lost with that paper. This demonstrates how, even though one may try, and spend their entire life striving to overcome the status quo,...