Irony In The Ransom Of Red Chief

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Kidnapping is simple; pick a target, abduct them, threatened their family for ransom, and then trade the target for the ransom. However, kidnapping the wrong person can be a big mistake. In the short story, “The Ransom of Red Chief”, by O. Henry, Sam and Bill, two small time criminals, kidnap a ten-year-old named Johnny Dorset. They intend to ransom him off, but Sam and Bill are unaware of the ten-year-old’s rowdy behavior. Johnny’s tortuous games compel Sam and Bill to create a plan to return Johnny to his father for fifteen thousand dollars. However their plan starts to fall apart as soon as Sam and Bill discover that kidnapping Johnny is a big mistake. In the short story, Henry uses various examples of hyperbole and irony to humor to the …show more content…
Sam and Bill have successfully kidnapped their target, yet their target is giving them a hard time. Right away, Johnny starts a game of Indian, where he is the Red Chief, Bill is Old Hank the Trapper, Bill is always getting tortured by Johnny, whenever Sam leaves to take care of business. By the end of the story, Bill has been a horse for Red Chief, he has almost gotten scalped, he got hit on the side of his face, and he has gotten a boiled potato put down his shirt. Bill’s injuries imply that Johnny is having fun and playing games with his own kidnappers, he is not afraid or nervous to be playing games with the people who took him away from his father. Sam describes Johnny’s behavior as “That boy seemed to be having the time of his life” (Henry 72). It seems surprising that a ten-year-old is playing games with his kidnappers. Typically, it makes sense if a boy of ten years is frightened or is begging his kidnappers to let him back to his family. However it is the opposite in Johnny’s case; he loves it in the cave. The usage of irony brings a different side of a ten-year-old child who got kidnapped. Irony is also seen when Johnny’s father asks for money as well as his son. Sam and Bill are instantly fed up with Johnny and his ridiculous games. They are willing to return the kid as soon as possible. The kidnapper receive a letter from Johnny’s father, which informs them, “You bring Johnny home and pay me two hundred fifty dollars in cash, and I agree to take him off your hands” (Henry 78). Johnny’s father seems to be aware of Johnny’s irritating behavior, because he took the opportunity to receive his son along with some money. The irony is seen when Johnny’s father asks for a ransom from the kidnappers if they want to get Johnny off of their hands. Instead of getting a ransom, Sam and Bill have to pay Ebenezer for his child’s return. It is expected of a kidnapped to pay and give the child back while

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