After Twenty Years Questions and Answers
by O. Henry

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What is the characterization of Bob and Jimmy Wells in the story "After Twenty Years" by O. Henry?

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O. Henry's description of Bob's face by the light of his match has a double purpose. First, it is necessary to enable Jimmy to recognize Bob as the man who is wanted by the Chicago police. Second, it gives the author an opportunity to show the reader what Bob looks like. We must remember that both these men have changed a lot over the past twenty years. They are not a couple of kids talking to each other, but men who are both approaching middle age and who have acquired great stores of "street smarts" in their respective vocations. They are two mature men standing in the same spot where they said goodbye as mere boys twenty years before. The "white scar" near Bob's right eyebrow serves a dual purpose as well. It helps to identify him as the wanted man, and it suggests that he is a tough customer who has been in fights during his years in the West.

O. Henry's description of Jimmy's manner of patrolling his beat is largely intended to show that he has been a cop for a long time. This fact...

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