Situational Irony In 'The Ransom Of Red Chief'

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Surprise is an emotion that rarely stands alone. Using situational irony, authors use surprising twists to manipulate the reader’s emotions beyond creating shock. For example, “The Ransom of Red Chief” by O. Henry utilizes situational irony to instill humor in those who read the short story. Guy de Maupassant also uses situational irony in “The Necklace,” but the feeling he creates is one of justice. Both short stories, when analyzed, show that the effects of situational irony on a reader’s emotions surpass creating surprise. In “The Ransom of Red Chief,” O. Henry utilizes situational irony to evoke humor. Generally, kidnapped children are miserable, but in this short story, the kidnappers have a terrible time while their captive has the time of his life. Even though Sam and Bill are the ones who capture Johnny, they feel as if it is the other way around. After one day with Red Chief, Sam dreams that he "… had been kidnapped … by a ferocious pirate with red hair" (42). The ginger menace in Sam's dream shows how the criminal feels about dealing with Johnny. Additionally, from kidnapping the son of a rich man like Ebenezer Dorset, the criminals want a ransom. Instead of getting the thousands of dollars they want, Sam and Bill find that the child is so…show more content…
This device also introduces other emotions in readers. By looking at the stories "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant and "The Ransom of Red Chief” by O. Henry, which utilize situational irony to create feelings of justice and humor, it becomes clear that authors use the device to create emotions other than surprise. The juxtaposition of what the reader expects and what actually happens mirrors what happens in real life. A person could expect one thing to happen, and when another event entirely occurs, they could feel anything from exuberance to anger. As happens so often with literary techniques, situational irony produces an effect that creates real
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