11th English : After Twenty Years
Unit 1.3 > After Twenty Years
a. What do you expect your close friends to do for you? Beautify the petals with yourthoughts.
b. i) Find out when the International Day of Friendship is celebrated.
The International Day of Friendship is celebrated on 30th July of every year.
ii) How is that day celebrated?
To mark the International Day of Friendship, the UN encourages governments, organizations, and community groups to hold events, activities and initiatives that promote solidarity, mutual understanding and reconciliation. The International Day of Friendship is a UN observance and not a public holiday. The UN wanted to involve young people, as future leaders, in community activities that include different cultures and promote international understanding and respect for diversity.
c. We have heard of the proverb ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’. Do you think that the passage of time strengthens friendship? Share your reasons with your class.
We never value the things which we are always closely associated with. We never consider those things a valuable one. For example, We never value the affection between us and our parents and also the friendship between us and our close friends. Our intimacy with our friends will get strength, if we leave from them. The passage of time makes us always think of our friends. It will strengthen the friendship.
- avenue – a wide street
- habitual – regular
- nigh – almost
- twirling – twisting and spinning around
- intricate – complicated
- stalwart – physically strong
- swagger – walk in a confident way
- vicinity – the surrounding area (neighbourhood)
- reassuringly – making someone feel less doubtful
- proposition – theory or system
- plodder – one who toils slowly but steadily
- wits – intelligent people
- groove – a dull routine that does not change
- razor-edge – a critical situation
- dismally – without happiness and cheer
- absurdity – quality of being silly and foolish
- egotism – a feeling of self-importance
- outline – describe
- wires – sends a telegraphic message
1. Answer the following questions in a sentence or two each, based on your understanding of the story
a) Describe the appearance of the policeman on the beat.
The policeman moved up the street of his duty in a very impressive manner. He had alert eyes and strong figure with a proud manner. It made him a fine picture of a guardian of peace. He also kept spinning his stick while doing his duty.
b) What did he keep doing while on his rounds?
He kept spinning his stick with many intricate and artful movements while doing his duty.
c) Why were the streets devoid of people?
The time was 10 o’ clock at night, There was chilly gusts of wind and it was likely to rain. So the streets were devoid of people.
d) What story did the man standing near the hardware store tell his passing cop?
The man standing near the hardware store told about the peculiar appointment with his friend
that had made twenty years back in that venue his passing cop.
e) What used to be there in the place of that shop twenty years ago?
Big Joe’ Brady’s restaurant was there in the place of that hardware shop twenty years ago.
f) Describe the man awaiting the arrival of his friend.
The man had a pale, square-jawed face with keen eyes. There was a little white scar near his right eyebrow.
g) Why did the friends part ways?
The friends parted ways to seek their fortune.
h) When and how did Bob realize that the tall man was not his friend?
When Bob and his friend Jimmy Wells came near a drug store and they came into this glare to gaze upon the other’s face. He identified that the tall man was not his friend by the appearance of his nose.
i) Who was the tall man?
The tall man was another cop sent by his friend Patrolman Jimmy Wells.
j) What did he give Bob?
He gave Bob a note from Patrolman Wells.
2. State whether the following statements are true or false
a) The cop suddenly slowed his walk, when he heard the barking of dogs.
Ans : False
b) The friends grew up together in the city of New York.
Ans : True
c) Both Jimmy and Bob were of the same age.
Ans : False
d) The friends parted one night after watching a movie together.
Ans : False
e) The friends could not keep in touch because they lost each other’s phone numbers.
Ans : False
f) Bob wanted to stay for half an hour more than the appointed time.
Ans : True
g) Jimmy grew a little taller after he was twenty.
Ans : True
h) Bob realised that the tall man was not Jimmy Wells from the shape of his nose.
Ans : True
3. What does each of the following mean in the story? Choose the right option.
a) on the beat:
- moving around hitting every one with a stick
- on duty walking around the assigned area
- marching with his heart beating fast
Ans : on duty walking around the assigned area
b) a guardian of peace:
- a watchman
- a holy man
- a policeman
Ans : a policeman
c) arm in arm:
- with arms linked together
- with weapons in hands
- with handcuffs on wrists
Ans : with arms linked together
d) plainclothes man:
- a man who wears simple clothes for grand occasions
- a policeman in civilian clothes while on duty
- a cine artist in ordinary costumes
Ans : a policeman in civilian clothes while on duty
4. Answer the following questions in three or four sentences each.
a) What did Bob share with the cop about their friendship?
Bob shared with the policeman his strange appointment made twenty years ago. He also shared the details of their childhood days and how they were raised in New York.
b) What are the strengths and weaknesses of Jimmy Wells from Bob’s point of view?
Jimmy Wells is very shrewd. He has sharp memory. He can recognize his friend as soon as he sees his face in the cigar light. He is duty bound.
He is very cordial and soft natured person. Though his friend is a criminal wanted in Chicago, he could not arrest him. Hence he sent another cop to do the duty.
c) Was Bob hopeful of his friend’s arrival? How do you know?
Yes, Bob was hopeful of his friend’s arrival. The lines “I’ll give him half an hour at least. If Jimmy is alive on earth he’ll be here by that time” reveal his hopefulness of his friend’s arrival.
d) How did the cop come to understand that Bob had been successful in the West?
Bob pulled out a handsome watch having the lid set with small diamonds. Then the patrolman came to know that Bob had been doing well.
e) Bob’s life in the West is not a bed of roses. Give reasons.
Bob had to compete with some of the intelligent people going to get his pile. He has to manage with the police for the crimes he had committed. He lived with stress and fear that he might be arrested at anytime by the police of West.
f) Why didn’t Jimmy Wells, being a cop himself, arrest Bob?
Jimmy Wells is very cordial with everyone, especially with Bob. He has no willingness and guts to arrest his most intimate friend. Hence he could not arrest Bob.
g) Who do you think has been successful between the two? Give reasons.
I think Patrolman Wells has been successful between the two. He has done his duty. He knows his responsibilities. Being a sincere friend he is not able to arrest his most intimate friend. He sent another cop in plain clothes to do the work.
5. Answer the following questions in a paragraph of about 150 words each.
a) Compare and contrast the characters of Jimmy Wells and Bob with suitable references from the story to support your view.
|Topic: After Twenty Years
Author: O. Henry
Genre: Short Story
Theme: Duty Vs Friendship
“After Twenty years” by O. Henry is an interesting story with a twist at the end. A 38-year old Bob is waiting at the door of a hardware store in New York to meet his friend Jimmy wells. A policeman is on patrol duty. He asks Bob why he is standing there. Bob tells the cop that he (Bob) is waiting to meet his friend Jimmy Wells. He says that they make a promise to meet at the same place at the same time on the same date after twenty years, before parting. Bob tells the policeman that he (Bob) has kept his promise. Bob is sure that Jimmy Wells will surely come and meet him. After listening to the story, the cop walks away. Twenty minutes later, a tall man in plain clothes comes to meet Bob. Bob thinks him Jimmy Wells. Later Bob identifies that the man he is talking to is not his friend. Actually, the man is a police officer in plain clothes. He gives Bob a letter from Jimmy. Bob learns from the letter that the police officer whom he met earlier was Jimmy, his old friend. Since Bob is a criminal wanted by the Police, Jimmy Wells does not want to arrest his intimate friend. So he has sent another police officer to do the work.
Here Bob is a criminal. But he is a true friend. He wants to fulfill his promise at any cost. On the other hand, his friend Jimmy Wells is an honest police officer. When he comes to know that his friend is a criminal, he does not want to arrest him himself. He has sent another policeman to arrest Bob. For him duty is more important than friendship.
b) ‘Means should justify the end’ explain this adage with reference to O. Henry’s story.
“Means should justify the end” is a well-known proverb. means = method, end=aim. Your aim should be noble, and at the same time the method should also be honest. The aim of a short story is to give aesthetic pleasure to the readers. There should be just two or three characters and the narrative should be brief. Now in the short story “After Twenty years” O. Henry employs only three characters. Two friends agree to meet after 20 years. When they meet one of them is a criminal and the other is a police officer. The police officer is duty-conscious and sends another police officer to arrest his friend. Thus the story has a surprise ending; it gives pleasure to the reader. So the shore story justifies the statement.
“Means should justify the end”
c) “Tell me who your friends are and I shall tell you who you are”. How do you explain this statement in the light of Jimmy’s and Bob’s friendship?
“Tell me who your friends are, and I shall you who you are”—is common statement. If somebody has bad friends then he (she) is a bad person. If somebody has good friends, he is a good person. But this statement and may twisted. sometimes
A non-vegetarian and a vegetarian may be good friends!!
The short story “After Twenty Years” disproves the proverbial statement of the friends, one is a criminal and the other is a police officer. But the title is meaningful —-“After Twenty Years” They were good friends twenty years ago. But time has changed their characters.
d) To your shock, you find out that your close friend is indulging in some wrong activity. Will you avoid him/her or to correct him / her? Give reasons for your answer.
If I find my close friend indulges in some wrong activity, I shall definitely correct him. It is my moral duty. I am bound to do. If any harm is done we should not ignore it. When my close friend does any wrong activity I can’t bear it. For instance let us take my friend smokes and consumes liquor. First of all I don’t advise him. For advise is a hatred form to any one, I shall give him live examples from the people who are affected worst. I should make him understand that other people are also affected by his act. It is my duty. Thus I will try to wear him of the bad habit.
e) What would you do in this situation if you were Jimmy Wells? Substantiate your reason.
If I were Jimmy Wells I would not send plain clothes cop to arrest Bob. Instead I would arrest him on the spot as soon as I knew that he was the criminal wanted in Chicago. My policy is duty first and friendship next. I stick to my principle even if I face any hurdles. I shall try to be sincere till the dooms day. For, while I go away and try to find another police officer, Bob may become tired of waiting and he may go away. Therefore as soon as Bob lights up his cigar and I identify him as a notorious criminal in New York. I would arrest him before he could have any chance of escaping.
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