Imagine being kidnapped but then having your kidnappers have to pay your father to take you back! O’Henry is most popular for writing his comedical fiction story, The Ransom of Red Chief. The story is about a little boy, Johnny, who gets kidnapped by 2 greedy older men named Bill and Sam. They tried to get johnny’s father to pay them money to get his kid back but things don’t turn out in the best of ways for both of them.In the story of Ransom of Red Chief there are all 3 types of irony. O’henry uses all of these types to create humor and suspense in the story.
O’Henry has many types of irony in his stories. In the Ransom of Red Chief he uses situational irony the most. The first example of situational irony is when the kidnappers meant to take the boy hostage, but instead the boy took them hostage in a way.
This example is humorous because the kidnappers meant to kidnap the boy but they were in for a treat when they found out what the boy could really do to them. This example doesn’t really create suspense for the story but this example fits into the humor category
Another example of situational irony is when Bill and Sam say Ebenezer would “melt down” for a ransom of $2000 to get his kid back. This example is ironic because near the end of the story instead of Ebenezer paying them $2000, Bill and Sam paid Ebenezer $250 for him to take back Johnny. This example is humorous because they kidnapped Johnny thinking they would gain a lot of money to take Johnny back. Instead of Bill and Sam gaining money, They ended up losing $250. This example could be a little suspenseful if you didn’t know what happened at the end of the story.
O’Henry also uses plenty of verbal irony in the story. One example of verbal irony is when in the story it says, “there was a town down there, as flat as a flannel cake, called Summit.”This example is ironic because they say the town is as flat as a flannel cake and its name is summit, which means the top of a mountain.
This example is humorous because you would think it is a high lying land because of its name but its not. This example doesn’t really create suspense but it is most definitely humorous. Another example of verbal irony that is in the story is when Bill said, “In ten minutes I shall cross the Central, Southern, and Middle Western States, and be legging it trippingly for the Canadian border.
This example is humorous because it shows how Bill just wanted to get away from Johnny because of everything he did to him. This is Verbal irony because it is physically impossible to go through all of those states and to cross all of the borders on foot in ten minutes. This example is more humorous than suspenseful.
The third and final type of irony O’Henry uses to create suspenseful and humorous is dramatic irony. The first example of the final type of irony in this story is when Bill climbed back up the mountain to find Sam to tell him he got rid of johnny, but we know that Johnny is right behind of Bill. This example is dramatic irony because we know something that will happen or that is happening. In this example we know Johnny is behind Bill but he doesn’t know. This is suspenseful because we have no idea what Johnny will do to Bill.
This example is also humorous because of all that Bill has been through he finally thought he got rid of him but he didn’t get rid of him. Another example of Dramatic irony is when Bill said he crawled 90 miles with Johnny on his back. This example is not really either suspenseful nor humorous. It is dramatic irony though because we know Bill did not crawl on his hands and knees for 90 miles with a wild little boy on his back torturing him the entire time.
O’Henry uses all three types of Irony to create suspense and humor in his popular story, Ransom of Red Chief. Situational irony is used the most in the story but all types are used to create humor and suspense to make you want to read and re-read the story over and over again.