The Master of Twisted Endings Writings of William Sydney Porter: one-third irony and allusions, one-third humor, and bit of a twisted ending, will create one of Porters best short stories he has ever written. The short story, “The Ransom of Red Chief” is by far one of the most hilarious stories he has written (Voss 193).
In writing this short story, Porter portrays his life through his character’s actions while using his patented “short story formula;” which consists of using irony, literary allusions, a twisted ending, and use of big vocabulary for comical effects; as this was used in “The Ransom Of Red Chief.” Usually in Porter’s writings, his settings would be held in either Texas or New York City, the very two places where he spent most of his life (Bryfonski 345).
However, in “The Ransom of Red Chief,” the story took place in a small town know as the Summit in Alabama. Within the story, he starts off by introducing the two kidnappers, Bill and Sam to the readers, and how their idea of kidnapping someone was brought upon. Bill and Sam aren’t “bad guys,” in the story, in fact in most of Porters writings, the criminal, robber, or any other types of “bad guys” aren’t bad at all.
It was said that he got his inspiration from doing his time in prison, and this would allow him to see the convicted criminals’s ide of their story (Votteler 153).
“Not rounding off, but opening out.” Comment upon the way the writers of the novel and short story deal with the ending in relation to the whole. In your answer you should refer to two or three novels or short stories you have studied. The end of a short story is as important as the start. Some short stories end abruptly, leaving it open for the readers to interpret while others have a moral. In ...
In his stories, there is barely any realism to characters and their actions. For example, within the story, what loving parent won’t cry or pay for the ransom of a measly two thousand dollar for their son, but instead asks the kidnappers to give him 250 dollars to take his son back. In addition to the lack of realism, kidnappers aren’t usually that friendly and benevolent such as Bill and Sam. Part of Porter’s formula of writing a story is having a mix of literary allusions and irony. Porter loves to incorporate famous writers or writers he admired into his stories (Voss 192).
It just so happens that the father of the kidnapped son was named: “Ebenezer Dorset,” who was an uptight mortgage fancier and a stern, upright collection-plate passer and foreclose r; just like the Ebenezer in the “Christmas Carol” (Henry 848).
What was also ironic and twisted was the fact that the kidnappers had to pay the father money instead of collecting the ransom money (Henry 852).
Also the situation of the kid “torturing” Ben to the point of insanity was also somewhat paradoxical. Porter’s has a unique insight into the social conditions of his time. He has a great understanding of the trials of the lower class and he frequently pictures the lives of ordinary people of early twentieth century America with warm and compassionate heart. His characters are frequently the overlooked: the struggling shop girl, the unsuccessful artist, and the impoverished, in this case, Sam and Ben.
Admittedly, some of his images can be hard to comprehend for modern readers, and the distance that time has placed between us and Porter’s beloved New York means that some of his verbal pictures will be harder to understand and identify with. This brings upon one of the strong downfalls, which is having way to many highly developed vocabulary words, within this story. Even though Porter used his superb command of vocabulary to achieve the effects he wants such as for comical effects, most young readers won’t understand what the complex words mean; thus not understanding what Porter is trying to say or illustrate in his story (Ostrofsky 194).
“Good Readers and Good Writers” (from Lectures on Literature) Vladimir Nabokov (originally delivered in 1948) My course, among other things, is a kind of detective investigation of the mystery of literary structures. “How to be a Good Reader” or “Kindness to Authors”—something of that sort might serve to provide a subtitle for these various discussions of various authors, ...
But to fill in the gap of misunderstandings, Porter is able to bring comic relief into his stories within the character’s dialogue or action.
An instance of Porter’s vocabulary usage and writing style: “We knew that Summit couldn’t get after us with anything stronger than constables and, maybe, some lackadaisical bloodhounds and a diatribe or two in the Weekly Farmers’ Budget” (Henry 848).
Many other cases could be found out throughout his story. Porter loves to use twisted endings or what he called “Snappers.” His stories rely heavily on coincidence, unabashed sentiment, caricature, and the broadest kind of comedy are the conspicuous parts in his “short story formula” (Voss 192).
However, one of the most distinctive characteristics of Porter’s short stories is the ironic twist at the end; which never fails to surprise and entertain and sometimes even reversing the entire story line in a concluding one-liner.
His suspense and trademark ironic twist ensures that readers who have a good literary taste in short stories will not be disappointed. It’s not everyday where a kidnapper will pay money to get rid of their kidnappee. The twist within the story was that they never collected the money, but instead had to pay to get rid of the kidnappee. In addition, not all of Porter’s stories have a happy ending; however, he always manages to make a twist at the end to make it humorous and balance the sadness of the ending.
All readers want the “good-guy” to win, but since that character didn’t win, Porter is able to create a situation where it will please the reader even if the story did not hold (Ostrofsky 194).
In his ending of, “The Ransom of Red Chief,” the last line was: “And as dark as it was, and as fat as Bill was, and as good a runner as I am, he was a good mile and half out of Summit before I could catch up with him” (Henry, O. 853).
The ironic ending in this story was that the kidnappers, Bill and Sam had to pay the father to get rid of the kidnappee rather then receiving the ransom money from the father. The story didn’t completely have a “happy ending,” but Porter was able to create some humor to please and satisfy the reader. Finally in writing this master piece, William Sydney Porter uses his patented “short story formula” to write his great and wonderful short stories.
Analysis Of "Hills Like White Elephants' Essay, Analysis Of "Hills Like White Elephants' "Hills Like White Elephants', by Ernest Hemingway, is a short story published in 1927 that takes place in a train station in Spain with a man and a woman discussing an operation. Most of the story is simply dialogue between the two characters, the American and Jig. This couple is at a critical point in their ...
With the blend of some irony, humor, and a twisted ending, Porter was able to create one of his funniest and greatest stories yet, “The Ransom of Red Chief.” Even if he has been widely criticized for his predictable story plot and ironic ending, he is still by far the best short story writer of his time, and “The Ransom of Red Chief,” was by far one his greatest work. Bryfonski, Phyllis Carmel Mendelson. eds. Twentieth-Century literary Criticism.
Detroit. Michigan; Gale Research Company, 1978. Henry, O. “The Ransom Of Red Chief.” Collected Stories of O.
Henry. New York: Doubleday & Co. , 1969. Ostrofsky, Martin B. “Henry.” Shot Story Criticism Ed. Thomas Votteler.
Vol 5. Detroit: Gale research Inc. 1990, 1993-94. Voss, Arthur. “Henry.” 1973. Short Story Criticism.
Ed. Thomas Votteler. Vol. 5. Detroit: Gale Research Inc. 1990.
192-193. Votteler, Thomas ed. Short Story Criticism. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1990.