2O. Henry ( )William Sydney Porter was a prolific American short story writer who was born in Greensboro, North Carolina. When he was three, his mother died, and he was raised by his paternal grandmother and aunt. At the age of fifteen he left school. In 1897 he was convicted of stealing money. In prison he started to write short stories to earn money to support his daughter Margaret. In 1910, he changed his name to O. Henry.Many of O. Henry’s stories contain a surprise ending or an ironic twist. “The Gift of the Magi” is one of the most famous of his short stories with a twist.
3RANSOM ELEMENTS LITERARY IN PLOT SETTING POINT OF VIEW IRONY THEME Overall message of the storySomething happening opposite of what is expectedTime and place a story occursPerspective of who is telling the storySequence of events in a storyFuture events suggested by the author before they occurLITERARYELEMENTSRANSOMINPLOTSETTINGPOINT OF VIEWTHEMEIRONYFORESHADOWING
4READING BEFORE prediction Read the title of the story. Based on the title and the author’s biography, make a about what the plot is going to be about.predictionWhen you hear about kidnappings, what are some of the most common things you associate with it?
5Vocabulary to know collaborated fraudulent dastardly terror schemeFondness for childrencaptivecapitalMoneyimpcollaboratedPrisonerCowardlyphiloprogenitivenessA sly or secret plan of actionconcludedransombuggyfraudulentdastardlyCausing fear or worryprominentTroublesome childterrorHaving been cheated or trickedLeadingSomething paid for the release of a captured personA small cart pulled by a horseWork togetherTo reach a decision
6The setting of The Ransom of Red Chief was written in 1910 and set in a small town called Summit in the deep south of Alabama.The story of The Ransom of Red Chief has become a familiar cultural theme. The most notable is the “Home Alone” and “Dennis the Menace” movies.STORYBACKGROUND
7Read The Ransom of Red Chief to: Find out how O. Henry uses foreshadowing to help readers predict the ironic plot twist at the end of the story.Find out how point of view influences the credibility, or reliability, of the narrator’s story.
8AfterReadingIn the story, O. Henry creates an example of irony when two kidnappers end up being held hostage by their supposed victim. How would you have reacted to Red Chief if you were in their situation?What did you find unusual about the boy’s attitude regarding captivity? What does this say about the boy?
9The Ransom of Red Chief Extra Credit Write a newspaper article describing the kidnapping and the return of Mr. Dorset’s son. Be sure to include the following information: who, what, where, when, and why. (20 pts)Prepare and perform a mock trial of Johnny “Red Chief” from the defendants’ perspective of Old Hank and Snake-Eye, who are suing for assault and battery as well as extortion. (30 pts)Draw and color a picture of Red Chief, Old Hank, or Snake-Eye. Consult the story again for descriptions. (15 pts)