The Ransom of Red Chief Questions and Answers

The 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

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

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)

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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)

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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)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

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

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)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

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)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

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)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

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)

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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)

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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)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

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)

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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)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

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)

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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)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

From the moment Sam and Bill kidnap Johnny Dorset, he terrorizes Bill nonstop, which causes Bill a significant amount of distress, anxiety, and pain. Johnny Dorset, who prefers to be called Red...

Latest answer posted March 5, 2019, 3:07 pm (UTC)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

"The Ransom of Red Chief" is told from the first person point of view. The story's narrator is Sam, one of the hapless kidnappers who holds little Johnny Dorset for ransom. The use of the first...

Latest answer posted June 26, 2018, 6:46 am (UTC)

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The 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)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

"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

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)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

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)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

"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)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

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)

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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)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

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)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

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)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

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)

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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)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

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)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

The humorous tone of the story is most effective when a more serious tone would ordinarily be used. A prime example of this comes when the two hapless kidnappers receive a reply to their ransom...

Latest answer posted December 28, 2018, 12:22 pm (UTC)

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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)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

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)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

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)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

The narrator of "The Ransom of Red Chief" himself expresses the situational irony in O. Henry's story: "It looked like a good thing, but wait till I tell you." For, what happens to Sam and...

Latest answer posted September 26, 2014, 8:00 am (UTC)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

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)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

Bill Driscoll and Sam, the narrator, planned to take the child and then ransom him back to his family for two thousand dollars. However, they such a difficult time with the boy, named Johnny...

Latest answer posted February 20, 2021, 4:35 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Ransom of Red Chief

I would say that the signature "Two desperate men" actually has two separate meanings. Remember, Bill and Sam have kidnapped Johnny in order to extract a ransom from the boy's father. Therefore,...

Latest answer posted October 19, 2019, 5:18 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

Sam and Bill are two outlaws, who come up with a scheme to kidnap a wealthy man's son, in hopes of earning two thousand dollars for his ransom. Unfortunately, their plan backfires when they kidnap...

Latest answer posted January 8, 2018, 5:14 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Ransom of Red Chief

A comic story, play, or novel usually pivots on hyperbole (exaggeration) and reversal of expectations, and in this story, O. Henry does not disappoint. Sam and Bill think it will be easy money for...

Latest answer posted January 26, 2019, 1:40 pm (UTC)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

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

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

The narrator of "The Ransom of Red Chief" is Sam. He and Bill Driscoll have cooked up a plan to "pull off a fraudulent town-lot scheme in Western Illinois" and need two thousand...

Latest answer posted May 29, 2008, 9:52 am (UTC)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

Actually it is Sam who asks Bill the question. Here is the pertinent dialogue from the story. “Bill,” says I, “there isn’t any heart disease in your family, is there?” “No,” says Bill, “nothing...

Latest answer posted March 12, 2016, 11:57 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

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

You are making a good start toward a thesis, but at this point, you need to do some finessing. A thesis has to state an opinion that is arguable: in other words, it has to be open to debate. The...

Latest answer posted March 26, 2019, 6:21 pm (UTC)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

“The Ransom of Red Chief” is a short story written by O. Henry. It was first published in 1910. In the story, two men, Bill and Sam, kidnap a young boy, Johnny. They do this in the hope to make...

Latest answer posted January 27, 2020, 11:46 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Ransom of Red Chief

The petty criminals Sam and Bill in O. Henry's humorous story "The Ransom of Red Chief" bit off more than they could chew when they kidnapped Ebenezer Dorset's son, a.k.a. Red Chief. The fact is,...

Latest answer posted February 13, 2016, 2:50 pm (UTC)

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The Ransom of Red Chief

The narrator walks to Poplar Cove, "a little village three miles from the cave" where he and his partner are hiding out with their would-be kidnap victim, to get a feel for the reaction to the...

Latest answer posted June 17, 2010, 12:30 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Ransom of 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

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