What is the most significant items that I can analyze in After Twenty Years of O. Henry?

Expert Answers

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In "After Twenty Years" O Henry focuses on the honor of the policeman on the beat, on the significance and importance of honesty.  Destiny is another topic that is illustrated in the story, one man became a representative to uphold the law, the other a criminal, determined to break the law. 

Bob arrogantly arrives for his meeting with his old friend, and speaks to the Policeman, he is not concerned about conversing with the Policeman, even though he is a wanted criminal.  

Just like O Henry, he surprises us with a twist in the story, a surprise ending that makes the reader understand something about the decency of the human spirit.  In the simpliest form, he draws the reader into everyday life, focusing on events that illustrate his view of life. 

"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.” (O Henry)

When Bob tells the policeman about his old friend, he doesn't know that he is talking to him, Jimmy Wells is the policeman.

But Jimmy Wells' honesty runs deep, he does not change his feelings on lawbreakers just because the wanted criminal in front of him used to be his friend. 

But, because Jimmy is such a stand up guy, he can't arrest Bob himself.  He sends in another officer to take him into custody.


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