Irony In O. Henry's The Ransom Of Red Chief

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Only 4% of kidnappings involve demanding a ransom (https://www.ncjrs.gov/html/ojjdp/nismart/03/ns4.html). The Ransom of Red Chief, by O. Henry follows one of these more uncommon kidnappings. In the story two poor men kidnap a boy and hold him in a cave to ransom him. As the story moves on the boy causes more and more trouble, and there are several twists and turns, all highlighted by O. Henry's irony. O. Henry uses all three types of irony to drive the story. In the introduction of the story, O. Henry starts off with saying that they were in Alabama with Bill Driscoll, and they thought of an idea to kidnap someone. It also mentions that Bill was in a temporary mental aspiration. It is here when O. Henry uses irony, saying “ as flat as a flannel-cake, and called Summit, of course.” In this early example O. Henry uses verbal irony. Although this does not drive the plot of the story as much as the other example, it helps the reader imagine what it would be like to be in small town of summit.…show more content…
They take him to a cave, with a plan to be nice to him. Bill and the child play a game where the kid plays an indian, awarding him the nickname of Red Chief. On the second Sam goes outside to see if anyone was looking for the child, were O. Henry writes “But what I saw was a peaceful landscape dotted with one man ploughing with a dun mule. Nobody was dragging the creek; no couriers dashed hither and yon, bringing tidings of no news to the distracted parents. ” This is a great example of situation irony that really makes the story into what it is now. While he expected to see people worried about the lost boy, nobody seems to care. If O. Henry were to choose to have police looking for the boy, this short story could turn into a tale of two men running from the law, as opposed to what it is
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