“The Ransom of Red Chief” is a short narrative written by American author William Sydney Porter. better known as O. Henry. Like many of O. Henry’s works. the narrative is noteworthy for its dramas on words. wit. and plot turn. Write around the bend of the twentieth century. the narrative is a short rendering of what you might acquire if you crossed “Home Alone” with “O Brother Where Art Thou? ” It makes for a deviating 5-10 proceedingss that will convey at least one smiling to your face while reading and possibly a twosome chortles.
The narrative takes topographic point in rural Alabama. Two criminals. Bill Driscoll and Sam ( we ne’er learn his last name ) have about $ 600 between the two of them and figure they need another $ 2000 to draw off a “fraudulent town-lot strategy. ” And by the manner. you learn in the first paragraph of the narrative that these two chaps are the self-educated type who think that utilizing large words makes them ache. They have it all figured out. Except for the fact that the words they use are incorrect or made up. accounting for the wit of the undereducated ne’er-do-well who thinks he has a program.
So Bill and Sam decide that in order to acquire their money. they’ll kidnap a kid from a outstanding member of a little town and therefore choice small Johnny Dorset. a male child of nine and the lone kid of Ebenezer Dorset. a “mortgage enthusiast. ” The problem starts from the beginning when they call out to Johnny to allure him to the auto. Johnny throws a piece of brick and hits Bill in the oculus. The two get out of the auto and grab Johnny. who puts up a battle before they get him in the auto and thrust out to a cave in the hills. Sam goes to return the auto. and when he returns he finds Johnny has become Red Chief – and Bill has contusions on his legs.
Life over the following twenty-four hours doesn’t acquire any better for Bill as small Johnny. who hates school. doesn’t like misss. and is by and large a small panic. finds the thought of bivouacing out to be great merriment and indulges his sadistic imaginativeness on his capturers. about scalping Bill the following forenoon. jostling a ruddy hot murphy down his shirt and nailing it with his pes. and siting Bill like a Equus caballus. It’s adequate to do Bill denote that his favourite Biblical character is King Herod ( who had all the immature male childs put to decease around the clip of the birth of Jesus ) . And even Sam threatens the male child with taking him back place if he doesn’t behave.
Sam and Bill so pull up their ransom missive and have it delivered to Ebenezer Dorset demanding $ 1500 ( Bill insists that no 1 will pay $ 2000 to hold Johnny returned ) . Mr. Dorset responds with a missive of his ain relation “Two Desperate Men” that for $ 250 he will accept Johnny back. but that they better do it at dark as the neighbours believe Johnny is gone for good and he can’t be held responsible for how they’ll act if they see him being returned.
Bill begs. and Sam relents. So that dark. they take Johnny place. Johnny grabs Bill’s leg. keeping on for beloved life so he isn’t returned place. Johnny’s dad crowbars him off. Bill asks how long he can keep Johnny. to which Ebenezer answers he’s non every bit strong as he used to be. so possibly 10 proceedingss. to which Bill replies that by so he should be near to Canada. and takes off running.
To be best appreciated. the narrative should be read. It can be found online in a figure of topographic points ( the right of first publication has expired in the United States ) . and enjoyed in a few proceedingss. It crosses the line between world and illusion. but it’s easy plenty to suspend any impression of incredulity long plenty to bask the narrative. If you have 5-10 proceedingss to save for a fun narrative. give this a shooting. And so you can read some of O. Henry’s other narratives. many of which are besides amusing and have the twisted secret plan terminations that have become common in today’s wit.
Related to theme
The Ransom of Red Chief” is non merely a narrative in the O. Henry tradition of surprise terminations ; it is besides a narrative in the form of classical comedy. which assures the reader that sometimes in this universe the underdog can win. Generally. nevertheless. slaves or retainers. married womans or lovers. have prevailed by overreaching their Masterss. In “The Ransom of Red Chief. ” the kidnapers are defeated non by any strategy devised by Johnny but merely by his nature. Johnny is. himself. the ultimate ten-year-old panic. surely worse than most little male childs his age but non so unlike them as to be a monster. Part of the wit of the narrative comes from Johnny’s relationship to the generic ten-year-old male child. Like the generic male child. he asks inquiries. meanders. fantasizes. and enlists playfellows.
While Sam and Bill could hold coped with the mean ten-year-old. they are incapacitated in Johnny’s custodies because Johnny is non mean. He is tougher. meaner. and wilder than the ten-year-old whom these street-smart felons thought they were victimising. A 2nd component in the underdog subject involves the metropolis and the state. The sophisticated con work forces. Sam and Bill. choice Summit. Alabama. for the scene of their offense because they think that the state yokels will be easy to gull: their jurisprudence officers inept. their sleuthhounds lazy. and their hebdomadal rural newspapers ineffective. Sam’s visit to the bewhiskered. tobacco-chewing citizens of Poplar Grove is related with unconcealed… Related to technique
The Ransom of Red Chief” derives from the tall narrative so familiar in American wit. Normally. the tall narrative replies a inquiry: “How large was the ox? ” “How slow was the Equus caballus? ” In this narrative. the inquiry is. “How bad was the ten-year-old male child? ” Thus. the tall narrative merely exaggerates world ; in this instance. the world is the mean ten-year-old male child. and the hyperbole is Johnny Dorset.
The narrative technique of the narrative is besides evocative of the tall-tale tradition. Sam. the taking con adult male. speaks in the first individual. as if associating his narrative to an audience: “Wait boulder clay I tell you. ” “Yes. sir. that male child seemed to be holding the clip of his life. ” He is given to malapropisms. such as “philoprogenitoveness. ” and to literary words. such as “sylvan” and “dastardly. ” which suggest that he is overreaching his existent capacities. as he does in the narrative. However. both Sam and Bill can utilize the linguistic communication of frontier America. excessively. comparing Johnny to a “welter-weight cinnamon bear” or a “two-legged skyrocket” when they choose to overstate. stating that Johnny has “somewhat got on my nervousnesss. ” in a amusing understatement. Nor is the narrative without its scenes of amusing poignancy. all related by Sam. as when Bill apologizes for let go ofing Johnny. so turns to happen the male child behind him and seems for a clip to be losing his saneness. It is Sam who describes Bill’s supplications. which eventually result in a “getaway” from