How is the title of the story "The Pendulum" by O. Henry appropriate?The pendulum is not associated in any way with the story....only the routine of John and pendulum are "alike".

Expert Answers
mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A pendulum is a component on a clock that swings back and forth with every second in time.  It is often used to refer things in life swinging from one extreme to the other.  If you have a scale where on one side is John's distaste for his monotonous life, and on the other side is his regret, longing, and craving for that life back, then John swings from one side to the other quite quickly.  So, John himself is like the pendulum, swinging back and forth between two opposite extremes, very quickly.  You would not expect, that just seconds after his wife returns back home, that he would switch from feeling resolutely determined to be a better man, from fiercely longing for his wife, to wanting to immediately leave, returning back to his old ways.  So, yes, John and the pendulum are very much alike, and that is the reason for the title itself.

jananijeevanantham | Student

The title of the story 'The Pendulum' is quiete apt and suggestive.  A pendulum moves from one side to the other.  It is not constant.  John Perkins is fickle-minded like a pendulum.  When he finds Katy missing in the house he takes many resolutions to amuse Katy.  Where as like a pendulum he kept   changing his decisions.  As an example when Katy returns home back he forgets his resolution and will get ready to the McClouskey's to play a game or two of pool with the fellows.  This denotes the habbits of a pendulum.

fweaky | Student

"The Pendulum" is a story about a man called John Perkins, who's behaviour is like a pendulum, which goes from one extreme to the other. In the story, the two extremes are him being bored of his life and marriage and then when his wife leaves, him longing for her to come back and then realising his mistakes.

But just like a pendulum, which keeps changing its position from one extreme to the other, once his wife returns, he leaves her, forgetting all the resolutions he made and switches back to his normal routine, leaving her alone.

ajblackmamba9 | Student

The title is very apt as it describes the movement of the pendulum in context with john perkins' life.However far may the pendulum oscillate from its mean position,it always returns and stops at the terminus a quo.John too is like the pendulum,Katy-bereft,he was in a sulky mood as he had never noticed her importance in his life but as soon as she returned,he was back in his old mindset,i,e ready to go to McCloskey's.

ayushhhhhh | Student

in the story "pendulum"  it signifies the un stable life of Jhon perkins like a pendulum.

daringdude | Student

mmm...nopes...i don't go wid wht u say "cutie-gal"...the pendulum is an appropraite title to d story as it suggests d way a character named John Perkins returns to his originality whn his wife Katy returns home, it is importantly related to d story as it says abt d main character of d story-John Perkins!!!


hope u will get it wht m i tryin' to say actually....!