Good Times Through Literature蒐集了許多美國作家或英語文學作品，是供美國中學生(約九年級)閱讀的，編的不錯，例如：在一篇作品後或有 Think it over!、The author's craft、KNOW YOUR WORDS(書後亦附有Glossary解釋字義)。“紅毛酋長的贖金”篇末列出下面問題及訊息 (p.216)。
Now it’s your turn! (想想下面問題)
1. Who is the chief victim of the kidnapping? What incidents most humorously bring out his suffering?
2. Recall the feeling and actions of Red Chief when he was kidnapped. Do you think any lively boy might feel and act as Red Chief did under the same circumstances?
Would he be likely to have all Red Chief’s feelings and do all the things that Red Chief
did? Analyze the actions and feelings of the other characters in the same way anddecide whether O. Henry meant to portray them as lifelike persons.
The author's craft (作者的技巧)
Creating humor through incongruities
In all his popular stories O. Henry makes good use of the fact that most of us enjoy being led to expect one thing, only to discover something entirely different. For example, when we read the first sentence of “The Ransom of Red Chief,” we learn that the narrator and his friend Bill Driscoll are kidnapers—and at once we picture them as hardened criminals who snatch innocent children for ransom. But almost immediately we are surprised by the O. Henry is making his kidnapers talk—and act. One surprise follows another in quick succession.
One special quality of O. Henry’s surprises is incongruity, which refers to the unexpected putting together of unlike things or ideas…
O. Henry, master of the surprise ending (作者簡介)
… Later in New York City he loved to prowl about searching for story material. His quick eye and alert mind noted innumerable humorous situations in the varied life of the great city, which he wrote up in a clever, slangy, often sentimental or exaggerated style that intrigued his readers. But what they liked best were the clever twists or surprise endings that O. Henry gave his plots…