how does the author uses regionalism in the story the ransom red chief?

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knobles78 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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     Regionalism refers to the use of local color and is a major contributor to the enjoyment of O. Henry's, "The Ransom of Red Chief."  The author introduces the setting as a small semi rural town located in Alabama.  O.  Henry also refers to a publication known as, Weekly Farmer's Budget, when he describes the small town police force.  O. Henry writes, "We knew that Summit couldn't get after us with anything stronger than constables, and, maybe some lackadaisical bloodhounds and a diatribe (criticism) or two in the Weekly Farmer's Budget."   This statement gives the reader the stereotypical image of a southern small town sherriff and his trusty bloodhound.  The kidnappers use eloquent southern speech full of similies and the occasional Biblical allusion.  O. Henry states, "Just then we heard a war whoop, such as David might have emitted when he knocked out Goliath."  Southern speech often uses characters from the Bible as a basis for comparison.  Combine that with yawp, whoop, and ain't, and the reader senses the local color of southern speech.  A final note is the food described during their supper. They are eating bacon, bread, and gravy, all staples of southern cooking. The word gravy is used to describe a sauce when referring to southern style cuisine. The author's use of local color creates a sense of realism within the story.  The reader can hear the soft southern accents, visualize the small rural town, and smell the food cooking at the campsite.


"The Ransom of Red Chief, " by O.  Henry taken from:

Allen, J, Applebee, A, Burke, J, Carnine, D, Jackson, Y, Jago, C, Jimenez,R, Langar, J, Marzano, J, McCXloskey, M, Ogle, D, Olson, C, Stack, L, Tomlinson, C. (2012). Literature. Holt McDougal, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Orlando. 50-61.

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