Questions and Answers for The Ransom of Red Chief

The Ransom of Red Chief

What is the plot diagram of Ransom of Red Chief?

Exposition provides us with important background information about the characters that will become significant later on. In "The Ransom of Red Chief" we're introduced to the hapless kidnappers,...

Latest answer posted January 16, 2018 9:01 am UTC

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The Ransom of Red Chief

Describe the characterization of Red Chief (from "The Ransom of Red Chief" by O. Henry) in detail.

When an author comes right out and describes the character's personality traits, this is called direct characterization. An example of this would be, "The girl is nice." Although easy to...

Latest answer posted July 1, 2016 4:31 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

What are the comedic elements in "The Ransom of Red Chief"?

Much humor is generated in "The Ransom of Red Chief" from unexpected characterization. One would expect two kidnappers to be characterized as vicious and heartless and for a young boy who is...

Latest answer posted September 15, 2020 10:56 am UTC

3 educator answers

The Ransom of Red Chief

What is the theme of Ransom of Red Chief?

The larger theme in "The Ransom of Red Chief" is one that O. Henry used in some of his other stories. It is best expressed in the adage "Crime does not pay." The narrator opens the story this way:...

Latest answer posted October 19, 2015 3:41 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

List the irony in "The Ransom of Red Chief".

Irony in the broadest sense is the reversal of expectation. O'Henry was famous for his use of irony, and the comic irony in "The Ransom of Red Chief" does not disappoint. The story turns on irony....

Latest answer posted May 25, 2020 11:34 am UTC

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The Ransom of Red Chief

Why does the boy prefer staying with Sam and Bill to going home in "The Ransom of Red Chief"?

In O. Henry's story "The Ransom of Red Chief," the kidnapped boy is having the time of his life. He has never camped out before, so he enjoys the hideout that Sam and Bill have up on the mountain....

Latest answer posted March 3, 2016 3:23 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

In the "Ransom of Red Chief" what do Sam and Bill need the money of the ransom for?  

In O. Henry's short story, "The Ransom of Red Chief," Sam is the narrator of the story. He is part of a pair of men (Bill and Sam) who have come up with a scheme to get money. Readers are told only...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2017 7:19 pm UTC

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The Ransom of Red Chief

What are some of the things that Red Chief does to annoy Bill in "The Ransom of Red Chief" by O. Henri?

Bill Driscoll endures a fair amount of torture at the hands of Johnny Dorset, also known as Red Chief. The abuse begins during the initial capture of Johnny when the boy throws a brick at Bill and...

Latest answer posted June 1, 2016 12:02 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

How do Bill and Sam sign the ransom letter? Could this signature be taken two ways? How?  

The ransom letter is signed "Two Desperate Men." The apparent intent is to suggest that these kidnappers are capable of doing anything if the boy's father does not meet their demands. The word...

Latest answer posted February 23, 2016 5:31 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

What are the differences between the movie and book The Ransom of Red Chief?

This question is tricky because there are two film versions of The Ransom of Red Chief. Without knowing exactly which movie you are viewing, it is difficult to provide a completely accurate...

Latest answer posted July 23, 2015 6:28 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

What allusion does the author make in "The Ransom of Red Chief"?

O’Henry includes several allusions in the characters’ dialogue in “The Ransom of Red Chief.” One of the kidnappers, Bill, tells the other, Sam, about the game of playing Indian with the boy...

Latest answer posted March 4, 2019 12:53 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Ransom of Red Chief

What does Ebenezer Dorset's letter to the kidnappers tell us about the boy Johnny in "The Ransom of Red Chief"?

The two con men of O. Henry's ironic story of comic reversals, Sam and his partner Bill Driscoll, at first assess Ebenezer Dorset as a wealthy financier who probably dotes on his progeny and will...

Latest answer posted May 29, 2012 6:54 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

How does the boy's father respond to the ransom letter in "The Ransom of Red Chief"?

In this humorous story, Sam and Bill are two inept criminals who kidnap ten-year-old Johnny, the son of a prominent citizen named Ebenezer Dorset. In a ransom letter to Johnny's father, Sam and...

Latest answer posted September 1, 2016 9:32 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

What are the internal and external conflicts in "The Ransom of Red Chief"?

O. Henry's hilarious story of the misadventures of two con men whose supposed fail-proof plan to kidnap the child of the richest man in the small town of Summit, Alabama, backfires upon them when...

Latest answer posted January 6, 2015 2:52 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

In "The Ransom of Red Chief," what are the games Red Chief played with Bill and Sam?

Mostly, these games are based on pretending to be Indians, trappers, cowboys, and so on. Johnny inevitably plays the main role and Bill usually plays the role that takes the most abuse. Johnny...

Latest answer posted September 22, 2015 3:27 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

Why does Bill and Sam's plan backfire in "The Ransom of Red Chief"? 

O. Henry's "The Ransom of Red Chief" is the perfect short story to find examples of irony. Irony is when the opposite of what is expected to happen, happens. For example, when two grown men decide...

Latest answer posted May 12, 2016 10:49 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

Write the character sketch of Bill Driscoll in "The Ransom of Red Chief." "The Ransom of Red Chief" by O. Henry

Bill Driscoll of "The Ransom of Red Chief" is a con-man who, along with his partner Sam, decides to kidnap the son of a prominent citizen of the small town of Summit, Alabama. With Sam, Bill...

Latest answer posted October 16, 2010 2:26 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

How did the little boy respond at first to being kidnapped in "The Ransom of Red Chief" by O. Henry? 

"The Ransom of Red Chief" by O. Henry is an ironic story, which means that we should expect the unexpected. The story is set in the city of Summit, a quiet little town which is peace-loving and...

Latest answer posted November 7, 2013 5:21 am UTC

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The Ransom of Red Chief

Why do Bill and Sam agree to the terms of Mr. Dorset's letter in "The Ransom of Red Chief?"  Can you give me a quote...

Bill and Sam kidnapped "Red Chief" so they could get the two thousand dollars they needed to pull off another scheme in Illinois. The boy is so rambunctious and annoying that Bill can barely stand...

Latest answer posted January 18, 2013 4:56 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

Why did Bill and Sam decide to kidnap a prominent citizen’s child?

Sam and Bill decide to kidnap ten-year-old Johnny Dorset from the pleasant, tired town of Summit and hold him ransom for two thousand dollars in order to attain enough money to pull off a...

Latest answer posted May 8, 2018 10:28 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Ransom of Red Chief

Why did Bill and Sam choose Summit as a location for the kidnapping?

Bill and Sam choose Summit, Alabama as a location for the kidnapping because, within the time frame of this story, the Appalachian area in northern Alabama is remote and sparsely populated. Sam...

Latest answer posted September 15, 2017 9:57 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

Why did Bill and Sam kidnap the boy in "The Ransom of Red Chief" by O. Henry?

Sam, the narrator of "The Ransom of Red Chief," inadvertently reveals he and Bill are unsuccessful con men always hoping to strike it rich. Sam and Bill are in an unfamiliar part of the country,...

Latest answer posted May 7, 2016 10:48 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

In "The Ransom of Red Chief" by O. Henri, how does the little boy respond to being kidnapped?

The little boy named Johnny Dorset, who calls himself Red Chief, is delighted with being kidnapped because it lets him escape from the discipline and chores of home, if any; because it gets him out...

Latest answer posted May 31, 2016 4:05 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

How does Bill feel about the boy in "The Ransom of Red Chief"?

Bill ends up loathing and terrified of little Johnny, the boy they kidnap. He is willing to do almost anything to get him off his hands. The humor and irony in the story turn on what looks like an...

Latest answer posted October 15, 2018 1:43 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Ransom of Red Chief

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

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...

Latest answer posted November 21, 2015 11:04 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

How would you describe Red Chief in "The Ransom of Red Chief" by O. Henry?

Red Chief, as Johnny Dorset likes to call himself, is the freckle-faced ten-year-old son of Ebenezer Dorset, one of the wealthiest men in Summit, Alabama. Red Chief is an apt nickname because he...

Latest answer posted June 3, 2016 2:46 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

Who is Johnny Dorset in the story "The Ransom of Red Chief"?

Johnny Dorset is the son of Ebenezer Dorset, who is a prominent citizen of Summit and a wealthy mortgage fancier. Sam and Bill are the two outlaws who kidnap Johnny Dorset in hopes of ransoming him...

Latest answer posted July 9, 2019 11:49 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Ransom of Red Chief

In "The Ransom of Red Chief," how do dialect and figurative language contribute to the meaning and tone of the text?...

"The Ransom of Red Chief" exhibits the homespun humor and local color often employed by Mark Twain along with the signature ironic twist that is so characteristic of O. Henry. Without doubt, the...

Latest answer posted May 4, 2015 5:55 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

What are the characteristics of Sam, Bill, Johnny Dorset, and Ebenezer Dorset in "The Ransom of Red Chief"? I'm...

Sam and Bill are would-be kidnappers. They have planned the deed well, selecting a quiet town with a convenient cave for hiding their hostage, and have identified the only child of a well-to-do...

Latest answer posted May 23, 2012 6:00 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

In the story "The Ransom of Red Chief," why is Bill's favorite Biblical character King Herod? Why is this humorous? 

Bill likes King Herod because he was—shall we say—rather more forceful in dealing with young children than Bill could ever be. Bill desperately wishes he could channel the murderous spirit of this...

Latest answer posted May 9, 2019 5:50 am UTC

3 educator answers

The Ransom of Red Chief

Explain why the reply from Red Chief’s father is an example of irony. From "The Ransom of Red Chief" by O. Henry.

The reply from Red Chief's father to the ransom demand is doubly ironic. First, it is ironic because the two kidnappers were expecting to be paid to release Johnny to his father and instead his...

Latest answer posted February 5, 2016 12:40 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

Why did Bill and Sam in "The Ransom of Red Chief," by O. Henry, kidnap Ebenezer Dorset's son?

Bill and Sam have combined cash assets of $600 and reckon that they need about $2000 more to fund a "fraudulent town-lot scheme in Western Illinois." A couple of small-time criminals, they are...

Latest answer posted December 17, 2018 9:44 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Ransom of Red Chief

What is ironic about how Ebenezer Dorset responds to the ransom note in O. Henry's short story, "The Ransom of Red...

Most parents in such a situation would be absolutely horrified to receive such a ransom note—but not Mr. Dorset. On the contrary, he sees it as a great opportunity to get some compensation for the...

Latest answer posted September 3, 2018 10:29 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Ransom of Red Chief

In O. Henry's "The Ransom of Red Chief," how do the criminals change?

When someone changes his or her thoughts or feelings in a dramatic way from the beginning of a story to the end, he or she is called a dynamic character. In O. Henry's "The Ransom of Red Chief,"...

Latest answer posted September 22, 2016 9:47 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

How do Bill and Sam finally get rid of Red Chief?

Red Chief's real name is Johnny Dorset. Bill and Sam kidnapped the young boy from Ebenezer Dorset because they believed that the man would pay the big ransom demand to get his son back....

Latest answer posted October 4, 2016 9:15 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

How does O. Henry’s use of irony create a humorous tone?

When the narrator and Bill Driscoll select their kidnapping victim, Johnny, the son of prominent citizen Ebenezer Dorset, they anticipate some quick, easy money from their ransom demand of two...

Latest answer posted January 12, 2019 10:55 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Ransom of Red Chief

Why do Sam and Bill need money in "The Ransom of Red Chief"?

Sam and Bill are con artists. They are thieves and kidnappers as well, as this story will show. They have six hundred dollars with them at the beginning of the story. They figure that they need two...

Latest answer posted February 18, 2016 4:27 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

In "The Ransom of Red Chief," why do Bill and Sam decide on the town of Summit for their scheme?  

At the beginning of the story, Sam, who is the narrator, gives several reasons why he and Bill choose Summit for their kidnapping scheme. As Sam says in the text: There was a town down there, as...

Latest answer posted April 27, 2016 2:47 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

What is the irony in the story of "The Ransom of Red Chief" By O. Henry?

Irony appears in several parts of Ransom of Red Cheif. In the beginning, Johnny goes from being the one captured to holding his captors hostage. He literally takes Bill captive during their...

Latest answer posted July 14, 2009 9:12 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Ransom of Red Chief

What is the main central conflict of the story "The Ransom of Red Chief"?  

The main conflict in O. Henry's humorous tall tale entitled "The Ransom of Red Chief" involves the two con men, Bill and Sam, and the boy they kidnap. Sam narrates the tale of his and Bill's...

Latest answer posted February 10, 2018 7:18 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

Where was the location/setting in which "The Ransom of Red Chief" takes place?

The story takes place in Alabama, as Sam tells us in the second sentence of "The Ransom of Red Chief." We were down South, in Alabama--Bill Driscoll and myself--when this kidnapping idea struck...

Latest answer posted April 8, 2016 3:34 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

In "The Ransom of Red Chief," how had "That boy had Bill frightened from the start"? In what way did it affect the...

The idea to kidnap the young boy and demand ransom seemed brilliant to both Sam and Bill. However, the situation changed when they actually got the boy. They did not anticipate any hardships in...

Latest answer posted October 4, 2016 10:27 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

What examples of exaggeration are found in O. Henry's short story, "The Ransom of Red Chief"?

O. Henry is not only a king of irony, but he also peppers his writing with exaggeration. "The Ransom of Red Chief" is no exception. Right at the beginning, when Sam and Bill first kidnap Johnny...

Latest answer posted November 11, 2015 6:50 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

What other crimes have Sam and Bill committed?

At one point during the story, Bill tells Sam that they have been together in many adventures, which include natural disasters such as fires, floods, cyclones, and earthquakes. In addition, they...

Latest answer posted August 12, 2018 5:47 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Ransom of Red Chief

Why is Bill's favorite character King Herod?    

After Bill has been injured several times by Red Chief and worn to a frazzle by the boy's inexhaustible energies and demands for attention, he has the following conversation with Sam. By and by,...

Latest answer posted February 5, 2016 3:16 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

What is the tone of Ransom of the Red Chief?

Tone refers to an author's attitude regarding a particular subject. More often than not, tone is conveyed to a reader through the author's choice of words. I think a really great word to describe...

Latest answer posted December 20, 2018 3:44 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Ransom of Red Chief

What proposal does Ebenezer Dorset offer Sam and Bill?

I love this story! Bill and Sam think they've got a sure thing when they make their plan to kidnap Johnny Dorset. They know that Ebenezer, as a loving father, will gladly pay their ransom to get...

Latest answer posted September 27, 2018 3:21 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

How do they convince Red Chief to willingly go back home?

The two would-be kidnappers get Red Chief to go back to his home with him by telling him a direct lie which they know will be too tempting for him to resist. We took him home that night. We got...

Latest answer posted November 26, 2015 4:44 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

What is a summary of "The Ransom of the Red Chief"?

In this short story by O. Henry, two petty criminals, Sam and Bill, have come up with a surefire way to acquire the two thousand dollars they need to pull off "a fraudulent town-lot scheme in...

Latest answer posted April 29, 2016 9:06 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

What is the meaning of "The Ransom of Red Chief"? 

"The Ransom of Red Chief" is told in a comical fashion, but it has a serious message, or meaning. This can be simply stated as the old adage: Crime does not pay. Not only does the current caper of...

Latest answer posted December 22, 2014 12:58 pm UTC

1 educator answer

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