Ransom of Red Chief

278 Words2 Pages
O. Henry adds an ironic plot twist to the end of his short story “The Ransom of Red Chief” by turning the expectations of the audience around by making them feel sorry for the kidnappers, and not the so-called victim. The kidnappers, Sam and Bill, originally planned a kidnapping to receive money for a child named Johnny. The child turns out mischievous and troublesome to the point that he drives Bill and Sam crazy. The boy calls himself Red Chief and enjoys the adventure of camping out in the cave and staying away from home. Red Chief practically controls his captors and enjoys himself immensely. Expecting to see an outrage in the little town of Summit, Alabama after the kidnapping, Sam and Bill display shock to see the town’s people seemingly enjoying their solitude. His mother and father do not seem overly heartbroken although they reported the incident of their missing son. Eager to get rid of the boy, Sam sends a ransom note. To Sam and Bill’s amazement, Mr. Dorset calmly states that the demands exceed reasonability. He continues with a counter offer to take Johnny off their hands for two hundred and fifty dollars in cash. Most would scowl at this offer but Sam and Bill jump at the opportunity to escape from their so-called prisoner. One would think that a town would celebrate upon the child’s return, but Sam and Bill must bring him back at night or the neighbors might revolt on his reappearance. Poorer, wiser, and greatly relieved Sam and Bill barely escape with their sanity. With extreme irony in every part of this story, nothing turns out as
Open Document