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“After Twenty Years” Summary (ICSE Class 8) By O. Henry

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NameAfter Twenty Years
AuthorO. Henry
After Twenty Years Summary


In his short story “After Twenty Years,” O. Henry tells the tale of two best friends, Jimmy Wells & Bob, who agree to part ways after twenty years but promise to reunite there. Bob departs from New York to seek his fortune in the West, but Jimmy chooses to remain and joins the police force.

ICSE English Summary – “After Twenty Years”

In New York City, a police officer is on duty late one night. He spots a man standing in a shadowy doorway, who we later learn is named “Silky” Bob. When the policeman approaches him, “Silky” Bob says he is there to wait for his friend Jimmy Wells.

The two guys had made plans to meet on this date twenty years previously in a restaurant where Bob is currently standing. In the city, Bob and Jimmy Wells grew up together as brothers, & Jimmy was one of the most dependable and devoted friends a person could ask for, according to Bob.Then he claims that he moved to the West and found great success there. During the chat, Bob lights a cigar, & his face comes into view. After a brief exchange, the officer bids Bob farewell and departs.

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After around twenty minutes, a man in an overcoat approaches Bob and inquires as to his identity. Bob wonders if this man is Jimmy Wells after becoming extremely excited. In order to catch up, the new man offers to go to a restaurant because the one they had planned to meet at had closed, and he lets Bob believe he is Jimmy Wells.

Throughout the walk, Bob discusses all that he has accomplished in the 20 years since their last encounter. Bob now turns to look attentively at the man in the overcoat & realises that this isn’t Jimmy Wells at all as they pass by a brightly illuminated drug store. The man informs Bob that Bob is currently being detained and that officials in Chicago had received a tip that Bob might be in New York. He hands Bob a memo from the former police officer Jimmy Wells.

Wells writes in the memo that although he intended to see Bob, he soon realised that he was an outlaw wanted in Chicago. He also claims that he hired someone else to imprison his old friend since he couldn’t bring himself to do it.

About The Author

After Twenty Years by O. Henry was included in the story collection The 4 Million in 1906. During his lifetime, the poet, whose real name was William Sydney Porter, was a prolific and well-known poet.

Conclusion – “After Twenty Years”

Silky Bob stops a policeman and tells him the tale. Later, a different man comes close, and Bob thinks it’s Jimmy. He finally understands that the man couldn’t be Jimmy as Jimmy had a pug nose as well as a Roman nose.

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FAQs for “After Twenty Years”

What is the plot of “After Twenty Years”?

A: The story is about two childhood friends, Jimmy Wells and Bob, who make a pact to meet at a specific location after twenty years. Bob becomes a criminal and Jimmy becomes a police officer. Eventually, they meet at the designated spot, but Jimmy doesn’t recognize Bob because he has changed so much over the years. Eventually, Bob reveals his true identity and they reminisce about old times before Bob is taken into custody.

What is the theme of “After Twenty Years”?

The theme of the story is the passage of time and how it can change people. It also deals with the theme of friendship, as the two main characters make a pact to meet after twenty years, and the importance of keeping promises.

Who are the main characters in “After Twenty Years”?

The main characters in the story are Jimmy Wells and Bob.

Is “After Twenty Years” a short story or a novel?

“After Twenty Years” is a short story.

How does the story end?

The story ends with Bob being taken into custody and Jimmy musing on how much Bob has changed over the years and how their friendship has been affected by the passage of time.

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