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What is the theme in "After Twenty Years"?
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Middle School Teacher
One of the themes in “After Twenty Years” is that people will act according to their natures.
This story describes two friends who agree to meet in twenty years. After twenty years, they both keep their promise. However, they have both lived a lot in that twenty years. Ironically, one became a cop and the other became a criminal.
The two friends corresponded at first but then lost touch with each other. Jimmy became a cop, and Bob became a crook. When Jimmy first met up with Bob, he recognized him but did not tell Bob who he was. Jimmy was a good man. He was a cop, and nothing was more important to him. However, he was also a friend. He could not handle arresting Bob himself, so he pretended to be a stranger and then found a cop to arrest Bob.
Bob comments that twenty years is a long time, but not long enough to change a person’s personality. Jimmy’s friend, the cop who arrested Bob, responds.
"It sometimes changes a good man into a bad one…”
Jimmy left Bob a note explaining why he had done what he did. He felt pressure between the two opposing forces of his friendship and his duty. Each man acted according to his nature. Jimmy knew Bob was a criminal and would continue to be a criminal. Jimmy was a cop, and could not shake off his cop nature enough to look the other way. He also was a friend, and could not arrest Bob because of that. He found a compromise he could live with.
Posted by litteacher8 on June 20, 2013 at 5:42 PM (Answer #1)
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