O. Henry's hilarious story packed with irony, malapropisms, and humor makes a delightful piece of literature to introduce to one's scholars. Depending on the age and reading level of those scholars, this great short story can be a challenge for some to see the humor through colloquial language.
Reading aloud to one's scholars is the best way to emphasize the tone and humor of the characters and situations; just the additional of vocal tone helps the scholars find the depth of the theme behind the words. If the scholars follow along with the text, and the instructor pauses the recording to discuss salient points, then such an introduction can be a delight; subsequent readings will be richer and the scholars' memory of the story more solid.
If one's not comfortable reading aloud, or does not wish to do so for each of four to seven classes, a recorded version is a great help.
This recording, running at 23:30, moves at a smooth, but swift pace. At more ironic or humorous points sections, the narrator, Ken Wolfe, slows or pauses slightly for the reader to process and the instructor to pause and explain (if warranted). Wolfe's use of the quasi-authentic dialects makes the characters clearly distinct and easy to follow, and add to the humor by bringing the tone up off the page. The banjo music (from his own instrument, mind you) serve as bumpers at the beginning and end to add to the scholars' enjoyment and immersion.
This recording can be duplicated for scholars' digital devices for listening at home or with headphones/earbuds in the classroom.
The Ransom of Red Chief - Audio Recording
by O. Henry/read by Ken Wolfe
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License