Richard Connell’s The Most Dangerous Game

“The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell is a short story about a man named Sanger Rainsford, who went to hunt on Ship-Trap island. The count Zaroff hunts humans for the sport of the hunt. The short story takes place on an unnamed island near Constanza in southeast Europe. Sanger Rainsford was travelling to his friend’s house by ship, when he realized that he had gone off course. He then met another yachtsman who warned him not to go hunting on Ship-Trap island, which laid ahead because it belonged to General Zaroff.

The short story describes how this nightmare began as Rainsford heard strange noises coming from his cabin and saw strange men outside. He was then taken to an unnamed island near the coast of southeast Europe (most likely meant to be Russia) where he was captured by General Zaroff, who had hunted many animals and men. A short while later Rainsford woke up in a log cabin with no windows or doors on it – just a fireplace at one end. After pacing around trying to get out, he fell asleep but then awoke again after hearing footsteps outside the cabin.

The door slowly began to open, revealing another man whom Rainsford did not recognize at first because his face was so badly disfigured. It was Zaroff himself. Zaroff had terrible scars all over his face from various battles and hunts throughout his life which were acquired when he fought and killed a mountain lion barehanded and was mauled by a Siberian tiger. This had left him with terrible scars and a knowledge of the most dangerous game – humans. Rainsford realized what Zaroff was after and knew there was only an hour left before it would be too dark to find his way back to the ship, so he stood up as Zaroff entered the cabin.

He quickly got out of Zaroff’s way as he approached him looking for his prey. They began to argue over whether hunting animals or humans were more dangerous; they both agreed that humans were smarter than any animal but argued about their physical strength. Eventually Zaroff said that he would be willing to spare Rainsford if he could out-jump him (or Zaroff would shoot him if he couldn’t), but Rainsford stood still and refused to move. Zaroff then shot at the floor in front of his prey, who jumped out of the way just in time.

Rainsford was not fast enough though and Zaroff took aim and hit him in the shoulder, causing him to fall over. Thinking that he had killed his prey, Zaroff left so that he could get a search party ready before it got dark. Rainsford managed to escape from the cabin and began running through the jungle while trying to find his way back home (he did not know which direction led back to The Sea-Tigers ship). It began to grow dark very quickly while he frantically searched for something he recognized.

The short story continues with Zaroff’s discussion about how his prey was not the first to escape from him, but that he always returned for more hunting, because it was what he lived for. Zaroff then heard a noise in the jungle and ran towards where he thought it had come from. Rainsford jumped out of his hiding place and attacked the count. He managed to knock him over before Zaroff fired two shots at Rainsford, missing both times due to the darkness. They began wrestling on the ground until Rainsford kneed Zaroff in the stomach so hard that he almost broke his back.

The story is about a big-game hunter named Sanger Rainsford and his encounter with General Zaroff; they meet by chance on Ship Island. At first, Rainsford thinks that Zaroff is merely an expatriate Russian nobleman who hunts for sport; but he soon realizes that Zaroff actually hunting humans as well. Connell uses Zaroff’s hunting techniques and tactics in the short story, The Most Dangerous Game.

This short story is set in the jungle of Ship Island. One night, while Rainsford is walking along the beach of the island, he hears men’s voices and sees a light moving through the trees; he follows them to see what they are doing and finds that they belong to General Zaroff. After speaking with Zaroff for some time, they part ways and say farewell until morning.

The next day, they meet again and go hunting together in the jungle. As part of their adventure, they stop by a native village where Rainsford is welcomed in a friendly manner while Zaroff is treated with distrust and animosity. That night, when all of them sit around the fire, Zaroff reveals that he killed all of the inhabitants save one—the chief’s daughter—so she could lead him to a nearby channel through the island’s treacherous jungles. The next day, Rainsford learns from Zaroff that his host has been hunting on Ship Island for nearly twenty years; but recently found it necessary to start hunting humans in order to relieve his boredom with hunting animals.

The short story begins during an unspecified time, when Sanger Rainsford, a famous big-game hunter from New York City, finds himself shipwrecked on an island in the Caribbean Sea. A few hours after he makes camp, short story narrator and protagonist Richard Connell claims that it began to rain violently. The short story continues with short story protagonist Richard Connell going into a nearby forest to get dry wood for a fire; however, he instead discovers General Zaroff’s hunting lodge.

The short story ends with Rainsford being hunted by General Zaroff. It begins as general Zaroff describes his life as a hunter of dangerous animals for sport. In response to this description of Zaroff’s past activities as a huntsman, short story protagonist Richard Connell asks Zaroff why, if he had hunted all the most dangerous game in existence, would he now go hunting for one solitary human.

At this point short story protagonist Richard Connell becomes General Zaroff’s prey; short story narrator and protagonist Richard Connell notes that “There was nothing between us but barbed wire and the stillness of death”. The short story ends with short story protagonist Richard Connell realizing that the only reason short story antagonist General Zaroff did not shoot him is that his gun was empty.

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