The ending of "After Twenty Years" fills the reader with a sense of poignancy, making the story effective. Discuss.

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To be filled with a sense of poignancy means that you are filled with emotion, or touched by the events of the story.  It is a tear-jerking or moving moment.  In "After Twenty Years," we are drawn into the story of two friends bound to meet up after such a long separation; we hope it goes well, and it's nice to see that after all of this time, Bob still remembers his old friend.  He speaks of his good friend, and how good of a person he is.  Bob says,

"But I know Jimmy will meet me here if he's alive, for he always was the truest, staunchest old chap in the world. He'll never forget. I came a thousand miles to stand in this door tonight, and it's worth it if my old partner turns up."

Bob thinks that Jimmy is a great guy, who is true and loyal, which makes his betrayal at the end of the story that much more dramatic and interesting.  Instead of being true and loyal, Jimmy burns his good old friend into the authorities.  We are moved by this because it is such a mean twist of fate; however, we are conflicted because in the end, Bob was a wanted criminal.  We can relate to the struggle that Bob must have had internally, over whather to betray his friend and thus capture a criminal, or to let his good old friend go.  It's an emotional ending, one fraught with all the complications of friendship and betrayal.  I hope that helps; good luck!