Examine how O'Henry builds suspense and provides a twist in the story "After Twenty Years".

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O’Henry builds the suspense in this story by introducing the two characters, and then not letting you know who is who right away.  They are two old friends who are meeting after twenty years, and he slowly feeds you details of their backstory.  It later is revealed that one is a police officer and one is a crook, and the twist is that the police officer has been talking to the crook the entire time—and he didn’t know it!  Neither does the reader, until the end.

In the beginning, we just see a very determined policeman seemingly walking his beat. His impressiveness is habitual.  This means that he just can’t help it, because it is part of who he is by now. Duty and responsibility are ingrained in him. O’Henry is building suspense already, because that will be important later.

Then, in the doorway of a darkened hardware store, he sees a man with an unlit cigar.  The conversation gets interesting.  First of all, the man, “spoke quickly.”

"It's all right, officer," he...

(The entire section contains 674 words.)

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