Why doesn't Bill want to be left alone with Red Chief?  Why does Bill ask Sam to lower the ransom to 1500 dollars?  Why does Ebenezer Dorset offer to take Red Chief back for 250 dollars? ...

  1. Why doesn't Bill want to be left alone with Red Chief? 
  2. Why does Bill ask Sam to lower the ransom to 1500 dollars? 
  3. Why does Ebenezer Dorset offer to take Red Chief back for 250 dollars? 
  4. Why did Bill and Sam run out of town as fast as they could? 

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amarang9's profile pic

amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Each of these questions point to a similar answer. Johnny, "Red Chief" is a hellion. He has boundless energy and wants to play constantly. He plays Red Chief and takes his games of make believe seriously. If Red Chief tortures his captive (such as Bill), then Red Chief will actually torture his captive. Bill takes the brunt of most of Red Chief's abuse. Sam notes that "That boy had Bill terrorized from the start." When one of their "Cowboys and Indians" games goes too far, Sam wakes up to find Red Chief nearly taking Bill's scalp. Bill is terrified of being left alone with Red Chief. Bill actually says that he doesn't think anyone would give up two thousand dollars for such a troublesome kid. So, he begs Sam to lower the ransom. 

Ebenezer is well aware of how unruly Johnny is, so he offers to take Johnny back if Sam and Bill pay him two hundred and fifty dollars. This is the comedic irony of the story. Bill and Sam kidnap Johnny thinking they will make some money on the ransom. But Johnny is such a misbehaved child, that they end up paying the father to take him back. Sam and Bill leave town in a hurry so Johnny won't follow them. Johnny's father even acknowledges this possibility and says he can probably hold Johnny at home for about ten minutes. 

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