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

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kathik eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Ebenezer Dorset receives the ransom note demanding $1500 for the return of his son, Mr. Dorset writes back. In his note, he tells the kidnappers, Bill and Sam, that he will agree to take his son back for $250. Normally, a parent will do just about anything to get his/her child back. No amount of money is too much to pay for a son or daughter. Mr. Dorset, though, knows that Bill and Sam have their hands full, and by the time they receive Dorset's note, he figures they will do just about anything to get rid of the boy. The idea that the kidnappers have to pay the father to take his son back is an ironic twist in the story.

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The Ransom of Red Chief

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