In O. Henry's short story, "The Ransom of Red Chief," why do the kidnappers choose the town of Summit to commit their crime?

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kathik | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

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In "The Ransom of Red Chief" by O. Henry, two men, Bill and Sam, decide to kidnap a little boy in the town of Summit. They choose Summit for several reasons. First of all, it is a small town populated mostly by farmers, workers and tenants. Bill and Sam think these people will be pretty harmless and will not give them a lot of trouble. They figure anyone who loses his/her child to kidnapping will be more than willing to pay to get that child back. 

"Philoprogenitiveness, says we, is strong in semi-rural communities; therefore, and for other reasons, a kidnapping project ought to do better there than in the radius of newspapers that send reporters out in plain clothes to stir up talk about such things." (Henry 1)

Philoprogenitiveness is defined as the love for one's children, and the men believed that due to this, their plan would go well. They also felt that in a small town, the worst that could happen was that the police or some "lackadaisical bloodhounds" might come after them. Bill and Sam thought they had the perfect plan.

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