After Twenty Years

by O. Henry

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In "After Twenty Years" by O. Henry, does the narrator reveal any character's inner thoughts?

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The narrator in "After Twenty Years" does not reveal the inner thoughts of any of the characters. What is remarkable about this story is its strict objectivity. The reader is only told what the characters say and do. It is only in retrospect, after finishing the story, that the reader can understand what the three characters, Jimmy Wells, 'Silky' Bob, and the unnamed plainclothes detective, must have been thinking. For example, Bob must have been thinking that he looked suspicious standing back in the unlighted doorway of a closed hardware shop in a nearly deserted neighborhood. That would explain why he acted so candidly and openly when the uniformed cop stopped in front of him--and it might even explain why he decided to light his fresh cigar. In doing so, he evidently intended to show that this was why he was standing in the doorway. It would be too wet and windy to light a cigar out in the open. But in lighting his cigar, Bob revealed his face, and this would lead to his downfall. Jimmy must have changed his mind about introducing himself as Bob's old friend and decided it was his duty to have Bob arrested. There was a lot of mental activity going on in the story, but it is not revealed to the reader because of the objective, "journalistic" style of the narrative. 

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