Plot in Afterward

Plot Examples in Afterward:

II 1

"The longer she looked, the more definitely the change affirmed itself...."   (II)

Though Mary initially doubts the possibility that her husband’s expression can have changed that much (perhaps due to her poor eyesight), this line makes clear that something Ned has read or thought has caused his worry to dispel.

"paused with the air of a gentleman—perhaps a traveler—desirous of having it immediately known that his intrusion is involuntary...."   (III)

The origin of the man’s hesitancy to approach the home is unknown at this time. All Mary can tell about him is that he appears sophisticated and eventually does approach despite his original reluctance. Though not immediately clear, the purpose of the man’s visit will make itself known by the end of the story.

"He tried to come then; but he wasn’t dead enough—he couldn’t reach us...."   (V)

Here the identity of Lyng’s mysterious visitor is revealed: not a traveller or worker, like Mary initially suspected, but Robert Elwell, whose attempted suicide left him in a horrible state. Though he would soon die from his wounds, Mary realizes that the man who was unable to approach their home was the still-alive Robert—and the man in the garden was his ghost.

"Her husband had made his money in that brilliant speculation at the cost of “getting ahead” of some one less alert to seize the chance; the victim of his ingenuity was young Robert Elwell, who had “put him on” to the Blue Star scheme...."   (V)

Here, Parvis explains more fully what happened between Ned and Robert Elwell. Through quick-thinking and underhanded business tactics, Ned was able to elbow Elwell out of money, taking the profit from speculation for himself, despite Elwell’s having told Ned about the opportunity. The origin of the couple’s windfall is thus revealed: Ned’s greed and willingness to undercut those who have helped him.