After Twenty Years Questions and Answers
by O. Henry

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Why doesn't Jimmy reveal himself to Bob in "After Twenty Years" by O. Henry?

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The narrator's description of the as-yet-unidentified cop makes him look like a man who has been on the police force for many years—perhaps as long as twenty years. Bob's description of Jimmy to the cop (who he doesn't recognize as his old friend) makes Jimmy appear to be the kind of "staunch" man who would be devoted to his duty. Once Jimmy recognizes Bob as the man who is wanted by the Chicago police, he knows it is his duty to have Bob arrested. If Jimmy had been a different kind of man, he might have introduced himself to Bob and...

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