Situational Irony In The Ransom Of Red Chief

Improved Essays
Being Kidnapped seems like a situation that would be terrible to be in. For one kid, it was the best few days of his life and he did not want to leave. “The Ransom of Red Chief” by O. Henry, is a fictional short story. Bill and Sam are the two main characters in the story. With much work they plan to pull off a fraudulent town-lot scheme in Western Illinois. To do this they need two thousand dollars. These two men decide to kidnap Ebenezer Dorset’s child and offer a ransom. Bill and Sam take the child up to an unseen cave on a hill away from the town. The child is a feisty child who always wants to play. His Indian name is Red Chief, notwithstanding that his real name's Johnny. Johnny enjoys being able to have Bill to play along with. Bill …show more content…
Henry uses irony along with hyperbole in order to add a sense of humor to the story. Bill and Sam both expect Dorset to pay for his son back. Situational irony occurs when they receive a response to the ransom. Dorset actually asks them to “bring Johnny home and pay” him “two hundred and fifty dollars in cash” (O. Henry 24). This creates humor because Bill and Sam put up with Johnny to get a cash reward but end up losing money. Situational irony also occurs when Bill and Sam threaten to return Johnny to his home if he misbehaves. The fact that Sam has to say “[i]f you don’t behave” “I’ll take you straight home” (O. Henry 18) creates humor because Johnny realizes he is kidnapped and is happy. Johnny acts like he is with his friends and not two, random, kidnapping strangers. O. Henry also creates situational irony when Johnny gets upset that Bill and Sam are taking him home. Johnny starts “up a howl like a calliope and fastened himself as tight as a leech to Bill’s leg” (O. Henry 25). This creates humor because typically children would be overjoyed that they were being sent home unharmed. Conversely, Johnny gets upset. O. Henry creates jokes in his writing about Bill and Sam’s expectations and actions in the story along with the hyperbole and

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    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…

    • 948 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The story begins with the villains, Bill and Sam planning on kidnapping a kid for easy money but Red Chief puts up a fight. Bill offers the boy a bag of candy and a ride and the boy responded by throwing a brick at Bill’s eye. This proves the theme as Red Chief brought suffering to the men while they were trying to kidnap him. Red Chief was taken to a cave and it was there that criminal’s plan turned into a nightmare. The climax begins with Red Chief tormenting the criminals when they tried to sleep.…

    • 863 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    After kidnapping the kid, they brought him to a cave. To keep the kid busy, the kidnappers would play with the boy. One game included the little boy being a chief and him capturing Bill. According to the text as they were playing, Bill was “to be scalped at daybreak” what he doesn't know is it really happens. So at daybreak, Sam wakes up to hear screams as the little boy is holding a knife right up by bills scalp.…

    • 872 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    With the death of all three by the end, he 's giving the pilgrims a sales pitch, letting him indulge in his greed. He plays his pitch as if he had offered the brothers a pardon or relic they could be saved. He 's saying they weren 't saved because of their sins, but I can save you. Line 297 states, "Do not harden your hearts" (Beers 136) and further down on line 307, "We are all at fortunes beck" (Beers 136), both from his tale, tells the pilgrims that buying pardons is virtuous, even valued and they could die at any time, without pardons, and end up in…

    • 1205 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    O. Henry starts the story with two scheming pals, Bill and Sam, who have an idea for kidnapping a wealthy man’s son in a town named Summit. They soon acquire Johnny Dorset, son of Ebenezer Dorset, (the wealthy man) and run off with him to a cave. Johnny, also called “Red Chief”, turns out to be more trouble than he’s worth, literally! The two friends expect a ransom of $2,000, but “Red Chief” causes so much chaos and havoc that the conmen are willing to give up the ransom just to get rid of him. Red Chief’s attempts to scalp, burn, and torture the two swindlers cause them to give up.…

    • 853 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    By using this “etc” in the narrator’s voice, Carver leads the audience to believe that the narrator feels uncomfortable outlining a truly romantic story because their pure, fairy-tale love emasculates him. This colloquial shortening of his wife’s life reveals the narrator to be upset by love outside of his own. Moreover, during an intensely emotional scene where Abner recently “struck [his son] with the flat of his hand”, Faulkner describes the strike like one to strike “the two mules at the store…[or] to kill a horse fly”(272). The degrading diction that the son is merely a an unimportant mule to the father forces the reader to despise Abner as a solipsistic man who fails to contain an ounce of…

    • 1476 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Standing Alone

    • 1219 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Initially, Arnold does what he believes in regardless of what the other thinks. Specifically, he has the courage to send Rowdy a Thanksgiving cartoon even though Rowdy hates him. When Rowdy’s father calls the cartoon a bit gay, Junior thinks to himself, “I want to cuss at him. I wanted to tell him that I thought I was being courageous, and that, I was trying to fix my broken friendship with Rowdy, and that I missed him, and if that was gay, then okay, I was the gayest dude in the world” (Alexie 103). Junior makes an attempt to fix the friendship between him and Rowdy by sending him a cartoon, regardless of the fact that Rowdy hates him.…

    • 1219 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    From Huck offering Miss Watson as his family if he spills the secrets of the gang, Huck becoming complacent with the absurd situation his father puts him in, or how easily Huck plays a prank on Jim with the rattlesnake, Huck’s immaturity presents itself in an obvious way at the start of the novel. In the middle of the novel, when Huck gains maturity, he feels sympathy for Jim, who misses his family. Huck also feels horrible when Jim is so distraught by the trick Huck played on him. This maturity is also shown when Huck tells the truth about the king and the duke to Mary Jane. Though Huck briefly questions Tom, he knows that Tom’s plan will have more style and willingly does what Tom asks him to, even if other choices have more logic.…

    • 1353 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Huckleberry exclaims, “I felt so ornery and low down and mean that I says to myself, my mind 's made up; I 'll hive that money for them or bust.” Huck has made up his mind to hide the money from the Duke and Dauphin because he felt very bad for the sisters, who would have been cheated out of money. He takes the money from he Duke and Dauphin and hides it in the coffin. Huck is showing moral progression because he is able to differentiate between right and wrong, and he does what is morally correct to keep the money away from the con artists. He exhibits sympathy towards the girls, and as a result does what is best for them even by putting himself at risk to get into trouble with the Duke and Dauphin. In his final interaction with the Duke and Dauphin, Huck states, “I didn 't want no trouble with their kind.…

    • 1975 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Huck wanted to save Jim when he got sold by the imposter duke and king for 40 dollars, as he says, “And for a starter, I would go to work and steal Jim out of slavery, and if I could think up anything worse, I would do that too.” Even if he thought that it was a bad thing to, “steal Jim out of slavery,” Huck thinks Jim is his friend, and he likes being with Jim. One good example of this is when Huck has just escaped from the Grangerford and Shepherdson families, and he is very tired and stressed. Jim is there for him in his time of need, as he says, “I hadn’t had a bite to eat since yesterday, so Jim he got out some corn-dodgers and buttermilk, and pork and cabbage and greens, there ain’t nothing in the world so good when it’s cooked right, and whilst I eat my supper we talked and had a good time… we said there warn’t no home like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don’t. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable in a raft.” When Huck feels low and hungry, Jim is there with food and companionship, and he makes Huck feel that, “there warn’t no home like a raft, after all.” When it comes time for Jim to need companionship, Huck is all but there for him.…

    • 1975 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Superior Essays