What is irony and how is it used in the story?
Irony is a stylistic device, used by the author to keep the drama in the story going, for the reader's enjoyment. It is the twist or unexpected event which blends the elements of the story together. In the instance of O. Henry he combines exaggeration [or hyperbole] and irony to add humor in the story. O. Henry is a master of irony and exaggeration, so that his stories have flavor and depth. In "The Ransom of Red Chief," O. Henry uses the three devices; irony, hyperbole and humor, enticing the reader to laughter throughout. This story could be considered a long joke instead of a short story! Our Task:
We will read "The Ransom of Red Chief" by O. Henry and examine the stylistic devices O. Henry employs in each. This story is broken into sections. After each section stop and answer the questions in the response section of your portfolio. Be sure to use statement sentences and rich story details for your answers. Synopsis: Sam and Bill, are rather inept kidnappers who get more than they bargain for when they nab ten year old Johnny Dorset, alias Red Chief. Sam is the planner for the kidnapping and Bill gets the job of entertaining Johnny, who turns out, in an ironic twist, to like being kidnapped.
| The Ransom
of Red Chief
Before Activity 1: Make a rough spider map in your notebooks. In the center circle write the word Kidnappers. Think about what you already know about kidnapping and jot down phrases, words or sentences for what you normally consider kidnapping to entail. While you read this story you will find unexpected events, that happen to the two main kidnappers, [characters], Bill and Sam. These surprises are considered to be ironic, because they veer off the path of what we normally think Kidnapping is all about. As you read focus your thoughts on what would be normal, and when it isn't you've found irony, exaggeration and humor in the story. Pay attention to the characters, their thoughts and...
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