Homework Help

What does "wired us" mean in the context of the story "After Twenty Years"?what does...

user profile pic

ayushi3498 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 10, 2011 at 11:47 PM via web

dislike 3 like

What does "wired us" mean in the context of the story "After Twenty Years"?

what does this word mean?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 11, 2011 at 12:56 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

Whenever readers approach a literary narrative, they must always place the work in its historical context.  With O. Henry's short story, the setting is most likely New York at the turn of the twentieth century.  At that time policemen walked a beat, meaning that there was a policeman who had a certain section of the city to patrol by walking around in it.  During this time, he checked that doors to stores were locked and that there was no suspicious activity. When Jimmy, the policeman of O. Henry's story, notices a stranger in the doorway of a darkened hardware store, he is a little wary.  However, when he approaches, the man explains what he is doing very quickly.

Of course, the surprise ending of the story evolves because this man lights up his face as he ignites his cigar.  Jimmy Wells, the policeman, moves on down the avenue he patrols, but he contacts the police station which searches through their information on suspicious persons.  So, in his letter to his old boyhood friend, explaining why he has not been at the appointed meeting place, Jimmy alludes to a telegram--"wires us"-- that the police from Chicago had sent to the police in New York regarding "Silky Bob." For, in the early 1900s, the telegraph was the quickest and most reliable method of communication.  The telegram sent messages by means of wires strung all over the US.  People used the Morse Code to send these messages.


Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes