The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry

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Name some of the complications in O. Henry's "The Ransom of Red Chief?"

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O. Henry's "The Ransom of Red Chief" is a comic story of ironic reversals. Irony is the difference between what is expected and what really happens. O. Henry artfully uses irony to turn the tables on Sam and Bill, a pair of would-be kidnappers who discover that plans don't always run smoothly and nothing can be taken for granted.

Foreshadowing of the complications begins with the first line:

It looked like a good thing: but wait till I tell you.

In this brief statement, "but" indicates that the way this "good thing" looked had no bearing on what would actually transpire.

One complication is the kidnapping of the boy. One would expect that when enticed by a bag of candy and a ride in the buggy, the boy would readily join the men. He does not. The fact that he was throwing rocks at a kitten should have been a clear indication that this was not a calm or complacent child:

One evening after sundown, we drove in a buggy past old Dorset's house. The kid was in the street, throwing rocks at a kitten on the opposite fence.

Hey, little boy!" says Bill, "would you like to have a bag of candy and a nice ride?"

The boy catches Bill neatly in the eye with a piece of brick.

Another complication arises by the boy's reaction to being taken. One might assume he would be frightened, begging to go home. Quite the opposite is true: he thinks it is a fine adventure, has beaten Bill up "playing Indian," and talks incessantly; these are men who are in no way accustomed to the antics of a young boy, let alone this young boy. He takes his role as "a pesky redskin" very seriously, letting out a war cry so often that Bill's nerves begin to unravel.

That boy had Bill terrorised from the start.

Before the night is out,...

(The entire section contains 632 words.)

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