My question is- when did tears come to perkins eyes? What do perkins tears signify? What was the outcome or result?  

Expert Answers
ajacks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In O Henry’s “The Pendulum,” John Perkins is a creature of habit. From the very first line we see, "Eighty-first street—let 'em out, please," yelled the shepherd in blue,” and the author is telling us from the start that his characters are like sheep being led around. Perkins lives by his routine, and any change in it is going to upset him.

The change comes when he arrives home and his wife is not there. His routine is shattered. His initial annoyance changes to remorse when he realizes that he was treating his wife like a part of his routine, and didn’t realized how much he did love and miss her. That’s why and when the tears came. He was determined to change his ways and spend more time with his wife.

However, O Henry shows his usual irony when the wife returns unexpectedly, he looks at the clock (and remembers his friends) and he forgets all about his resolution to spend time with his wife. He heads out the door to go play pool with his friends instead.

mkcapen1 | Student

In O'Henry's short story "THE PENDULUM" the character Mr. Perkins lives a mundane routine existence.  He relates to the passengers and himself as being like a sheep as he rides the Manhattan Elevated car.  He lives a dull life with every routine laid out for him.  He knows that he will go home, find his wife Katy waiting for him.  He will eat with her, look at the newspaper, and get his hat and go out to a local pub where he will shoot pool. 

One day he comes home and Katy is gone.  Her clothing is in disarray.  He finds her note that tells him she has gone to her mothers.  Her mother is ill.  In her absence John Perkins begins to be thrown off by his change in routine.  He also makes a big discovery.  In order for him to be happy he needs Katy in his life. 

"He knew now that Katy was necessary to
his happiness."

He vows that upon her return he will change and demonstrate more appreciation for her.  As he is looking at her shirt he smells the scent of bluebells.  He realizes how wrong and unappreciative her has been of Katy. He cries at her absence and his loss and the realization of how important she is in his life.

tears--came into John Perkins' eyes."

However, upon her arrival home.  He returns to his routine and behavior that he had exhibited before Katy had gone. 

user3741077 | Student