I always struggle with the climax, falling action, & denoument of After Twenty Years by O. Henry.  Can someone clear it up for me?

Expert Answers

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The climax of After Twenty Years occurs when the main character's friend is arrested by the plain clothes officer. The protagonist, conflicted between his loyalty to his friend and his obligation (as a police officer) to uphold the law, has another officer make the arrest once he determines that his friend is a wanted criminal. The friend (Jimmy) is handed a note explaining why he's under arrest, and how his friend couldn't find it within himself to make the arrest. The denouement occurs once the contents of the note are revealed to Jimmy (and the reader's), essentially tying up the loose ends in the story.

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