Irony In The Ransom Of Red Chief

580 Words3 Pages
“It looked like a good thing, but wait till I tell you.” In Bill and Sam’s endeavor to make money fast, they decided to kidnap the son of a prominent citizen and ask for ransom. However, after contacting the boy’s father, the amateur criminals quickly realize that they’re in over their heads. In the short story The Ransom of Red Chief, O. Henry creates the theme that one shouldn’t bite off more than he or she can chew.
To begin with, O. Henry uses irony to instill that all is not always as it seems. The victim of the kidnapping doesn’t act like a victim. For example, when asked if he wanted to go home, the boy said, “Aw, what for?...You won’t take me back home again, Snake-eye, will you?” (4). In any regular kidnapping, the victim would want to go home, but Johnny likes to hang around with his kidnappers. Additionally, Sam refers to Bill and himself as predators and to Johnny as prey. When he acknowledges the abduction, Sam poeticizes that “the wolves have borne away the tender lambkin from the fold” (6). At the end of the ordeal, though, the men were at the mercy of Johnny and Ebenezer Dorset. Another example of irony that supports the theme is how Johnny, the
…show more content…
Henry shows how plans with malicious intent will backfire. The author foreshadows that the kidnappers won’t succeed. When Sam searches for any evidence that the townspeople know about the missing child, O. Henry adds “Heaven help the wolves” (6) to Sam’s dramatic speech. O. Henry uses foreshadowing so the reader can understand that the scam would not end well for Bill and Sam. Though they struggled at the beginning, Bill and Sam incorrectly assumed that they would have no trouble with their plan. O. Henry wrote to describe that from the beginning, Johnny would test the criminals’ perseverance. Similarly expressed in the Old Testament, “Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him” (Proverbs 26:27
Open Document