Situational Irony in O’Henry’s The Ransom of Red Chief and The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant

Situational Irony in O’Henry’s The Ransom of Red Chief and The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant

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Situational irony is used in both O’Henry’s “The Ransom of Red Chief” and “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant but the effect of the techniques on the tone of each story is very different. In O’Henry’s story, the protagonist, Red Chief, is being kidnapped by two criminals, Bill and Sam. There are many ironic events that occur in the story. For example, the reader expects Red Chief to want to go back home to his family but instead, he is having the time of his life. As hard as Bill tries, he cannot even send him home. Bill utters to Sam, “‘I showed him the road to Summit and kicked him about eight feet nearer there at one kick’” (6). This is comical because it is using a literary technique known as slapstick comedy. The reader can imagine Bill swinging his leg and kicking Red Chief all the way back to Summit. Another example of situational irony in the story is that the reader would expect that Red Chief to be scared but what is actually happening is that Bill is terrified. While speaking with Sam, Bill complains about Red chief yet again, “‘I’ve stood by you without batting an eye ...

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