The Ransom of Red Chief (Notes)

The Ransom of Red Chief (Notes)


Bill and Sam decided to kidnap a child from a prominent family in a rural town because rich people could afford ransom, and that they believed that “Philoprogenitiveness, is strong in semi-rural communities” meaning that people loved their children more in country towns.

The kidnapped child at first struggles against Sam and Bill, but after some time he does not mind being taken away from home because he did not like it there and was happy that he did not have to go to school.

When Bill tries to take the kid back home, he follows the poor man back to his cave, and the two kidnappers' persecution continues.

After waking up the next morning, Sam finds the child they kidnapped trying to scalp Bill.

While Sam was looking towards the Summit, he expected to see a mob of people searching for the lost child.

Bill does not want to keep the child because he is suffering at the boy's hands. He asks Sam to lower the ransom because he thought that the kid's parents would not want to pay so much to have their horrid child returned.

The kidnappers sign the letter using the phrase “TWO DESPERATE MEN." This has a double meaning, one of them being that they were dangerous and if they did not get paid something would happen to the kid, or that they were desperate to get rid of the nuisance.

Sam went to Poplar Cove to find out how the people in the town had responded to the kidnapping. When he arrives back at the cave, he sees Bill entering in with a smile on his face, saying that he asked the boy to go home. Sam sees the kid behind the unfortunate man and asks Bill if he has heart disease in his family. After being answered in the negative, he tells the poor man to turn around, and Bill has the worst shock in his life, seeing the boy.

Ebenezer Dorset, the father of the kid, offers to take his son back from the kidnappers if they pay him; he promises to confine the child until they escape. Bill and Sam accepted this offer because they could not bear having the kid anymore.

The irony in this story is that the original intention of the kidnappers was to make money from this job, but in fact they lost some, after paying Ebenezer Dorset to take his child back. Even thought they had kidnapped Ebenezer's son, they were kept captive by him because they could not get rid of him.

The point of view in this story is the first-person perspective. We are told the story from Sam's point of view. Sam is an amateur kidnapper who worked with his friend, Bill.

The characterization of the Ebenezer's son in this story is mostly indirect. We are told a lot about his actions. We are not told that the boy is playful or mischievous, we are shown this when he uses a sling and throws a rock into Bill's head, just like David did to Goliath.

The main characters in this story, Bill and Sam, are considered the protagonists and the kid whom they kidnapped as the antagonist (the bad guy).