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What is the irony in "After Twenty Years" by O'Henry?
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With irony meaning the contrast between what is expected and what actually happens, this contrast first involves the character 'Silky Bob,' who tells the patrolman who walks his beat that he is just waiting in the doorway of a darkened hardware store for his old friend with whom he is going to have a promised reunion of twenty years. For, ironically, he is, in fact, speaking to his old friend, who does not reveal his identity because he now is a policeman while his old friend is a wanted man.
It is also situationally ironic that in talking to the officer, 'Silky Bob' lights a cigar, an act which provides enough light for the patrolman to see his "little white scar near his right eyebrow" and recognize him as a man wanted in Chicago. For, he meant only to arrive at his twenty-year appointment to meet his friend, but, ironically, discovers that time has changed this friend from "a good man into a bad man."
Posted by mwestwood on March 3, 2012 at 1:18 AM (Answer #2)
Middle School Teacher
Best answer as selected by question asker.
The irony is that after twenty years one man is now a criminal and the other is a police officer; the exact police officer who is going to take him down and be the cause of his arrest.
It is also ironic that these men were "best chums" when they were twenty, but now they do not recognize each other. Jimmy, the police officer, says that when Bob lit his cigarette, he recognized him as the person in a wanted poster. He didn't recognize him in the poster as his best friend but recognized him FROM the poster as a criminal. Bob also does not recognize his "best chum". He befriends this man who identifies himself as Jimmy. He even comments that he doesn't remember Jimmy having that height. Still, he is willing to be persuaded that Jimmy grew a few inches after he turned twenty. It wasnt until he saw his nose, not his full face but his nose, that he realizes that this isn't his friend.
Posted by schulzie on March 3, 2012 at 1:30 AM (Answer #1)
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