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Why did Jimmy get Bob arrested in "After Twenty Years"?
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Middle School Teacher
O’Henry is a master of irony. The ironic thing about “After Twenty Years” is that two good friends agree to meet each other later, but one is a cop and the other is a criminal. The cop has to decide if he is going to turn in his friend.
Bob and Jimmy were friends in a former life. When they were young, they were best chums and Bob said Jimmy was “the finest chap in the world.” People change, but they are still our friends.
Jimmy valued being a police officer, but he valued the memory of Bob’s friendship. He had a difficult choice, so he decided to tell another cop who Jimmy was instead of arresting him himself. He told Bob why he did it in his note:
When you struck the match to light your cigar I saw it was the face of the man wanted in Chicago. Somehow I couldn't do it myself, so I went around and got a plain clothes man to do the job.
It was a decent compromise. Jimmy’s identity was more about being a cop than about being Bob’s friend. He could not live with himself if he let Bob go.
Posted by litteacher8 on October 5, 2012 at 6:23 PM (Answer #1)
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