The Irony of Red Chief
In the short story, Ransom of Red Chief, irony appears in many parts of the hilarious story. In the beginning of the story, Bill Driscoll and Sam, the two thieves plan on taking Jimmy, a son of a mortgage broker for ransom (Henry 34). The story turns ironical when the thieves instead of being the one to instill control over the captured, become tortured by the young boy. The story continues to be more ironical when the thieves send a ransom note to the father of the child demanding two thousand dollars, only to be returned with another note demanding them to pay two hundred and fifty dollars before returning the child. The story ends up more ironical when the captive, Jonny, refuses to let go of his captor even after he got home. The essay below will hence analyze the three instances when irony became used in the story, Ransom of Red chief (Henry 45).
Bill and Sam formulated a plan to the beginning that required two thousand dollars ransom for a fraudulent scheme in Illinois. The two decide to take Jonny, the son of a well off mortgage broker in the local town, as their ransom. On arriving to take Jonny, the two found the boy hitting a cat with a rock. Furthermore, one of the bricks Jonny threw hit Bill in the eye (Nagle & Henry 34). Capturing Jonny became quit a struggle. It became ironical in the story why the two after seeing how mischievous the boy was, still took him captive. While hidden in the wilderness, Jonny became a menace to Bill. Bill became tortured by the young boy, instead of the reverse. The story here became ironical since the captor always tortures the captive (Henry & Harris 14).
Another ironical situation described in the story, involved ransom money. Bill and Sam wrote a ransom letter to the father of the boy asking to be given two thousand dollars in cash, ironically, the father wrote another note back asking them to pay him $ 250 before he can take his son. The story became ironical here since the captors always demand cash, but instead became the ones to pay for their mistakes (Henry & Harris 23).
The story ends up with another ironical situation. Normally, the captive always happy when freed from the captors, but in the story, it became ironical when Jonny did not want to let go of his captors (Nagle & Henry 45).
In conclusion, the story got a number of ironical situations brought about by the writer thereby bringing about the humor in the short story.
Henry, O. The Ransom of Red Chief. New York: The Creative Company, 2008.
O. Henry, Raymond Harris. The Ransom of Red Chief. Washington: Jamestown, 1980.
Pam Nagle, O. Henry, George Wingerter. The ransom of Red Chief. New York: Pioneer Drama Service, 1979.