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The Ransom of Red Chief

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The life of O. Henry ties in very closely with the narrative The Ransom of Red Chief. Life had been well until O. Henry had been accused of the embezzlement of bank funds. O Henry denied the indictment but was still put in jail. In prison, he wrote and published hundreds of short stories in order to support his daughter. O. Henry was once asked why he wrote; he replied that every story conveys something about being a person. Having been wrongly accused may have led O. Henry to communicate his belief that criminals receive what they deserve in The Ransom of Red Chief. O. Henry utilizes a first person point of view in his writing to emphasize the significance of a single character. The center of attention is mainly focused on Sam, the narrator (337). The first person point of view is the most limited for the perspective is only from one individual. However, this is useful when the author wants to focus the thoughts and actions of only one character. The first person point of view is recognized by the words “I” or “we”, as seen on page 337. O Henry’s conflict plays an important element in the narrative. In The Ransom of Red Chief, two conflicts are established, man vs. man and man vs. man. This is most common with the protagonist versus the antagonist or a good versus evil narrative. The most easily recognized is the primary conflict, where Bill and Sam kidnap Johnny and are desperate for money from Ebenezer (337). The secondary conflict occurs when Bill and Sam have difficulty managing Johnny (339). Interestingly, Johnny enjoys being kidnapped and relates it to a game of Indians and war (340). This creates an unexpected and twisting plot throughout the story. The two conflicts... ... middle of paper ... ...e denouement. Bill swears that he will cross the Central, Southern, and Middle Western States, and be tripping for the Canadian border (347). As good a runner as Sam was, Bill was a good mile and half out ahead of him (347). This narrative best shows O. Henry’s opinion that criminals receive what they deserve. O. Henry integrates his own personal beliefs into the narrative The Ransom of Red Chief. O. Henry communicates a lesson to the reader that actions have their consequences. Likewise, in reality, criminals will not be tolerated and receive the deserved punishment. On the other side, people who commit good deeds will receive a long lasting reward. O. Henry communicates to the reader that evil deeds will lead to unforgiving penalties. But like the criminals people are given a second chance to run away and start a new life through Christ.
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