Situational Irony In The Ransom Of The Red Chief

744 Words3 Pages
You might expect a kidnapper to be incontrol, demanding, and fearless. But this is not the case in the story “The Ransom of the Red Chief” by O. Henry, where the author uses situational and verbal irony to develop the tone of the story. Both verbal and situational irony are used throughout the story to develop a humorous tone. Situational irony is used in many instances in the story to create humor. One of the first instances of situational irony is when the “would be” kidnappers first carry little “Red Chief” off to their lair. The reader expects the kidnappers to be serious and smarter than they are in the story. They try to be serious but they just can’t control themselves. However, the kidnappers do not behave as the reader would expect, instead they act kind of scared of “Red Chief”. One time bill said that his shoulder was hurting but he…show more content…
This is clearly portrayed in the text when it states, “You’re a liar! Says Bill. You’re afraid. You was to be burned at sunrise, and you was afraid he’d do it. And he would, too, if he could find a match. Ain’t it awful, Sam? (O. Henry 3). This creates a humorous tone because the kidnappers are terrified of the kid, when the kid should be terrified of the kidnappers.
Another instance of situational irony is when “Red Chief” begins to speak with the kidnappers. One would expect that a child who has been kidnapped would be fearful, or want to go home to see their family. However, “Red Chief” does not behave as expected, instead he doesn’t want to leave and he is having the time of his life. He was treating the kidnappers like they were apart of his family and asking them about all the questions he
Open Document