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Review of "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell
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“The Most Dangerous Game” is an entertaining short story, and was written for its irony; for the fascinating twist that it gives a common phenomenon: the sport of hunting. That some would hunt and kill animals for sport seems to be natural and quite acceptable, but from a unique analytical perspective, as presented in this story, becomes a strange and disturbing activity. Of course, there are already a significant number of people who view gaming as unnatural and inhumane, but rather than emphasizing the plight of the animals, “The Most Dangerous Game” puts hunting on a new, human level.
One of the story’s most enjoyable elements was its characters. There are very few characters overall; of these only two are elaborated on to a significant extent and given enough dimension so as to be directed about the plot as complex entities. Rainsford, the protagonist, is a skilled hunter of wild animals but an otherwise ordinary man with all the expected moral values and logical skills of a normally functioning member of a civilized society whose members do not behave as animals. General Zaroff, on the other hand, is a more interesting but twisted figure. He is fascinating by default due to his unique pastime of hunting human beings for sport, and merits analysis. Apparently he indulges himself in this unusual activity due to ennui; in other words, he is bored. These are the kinds of characters which make literature so valuable to society: the creation of fictional but complex people, who are so often actually stronger and weaker reflections of people who actually exist, or of certain aspects of human nature.
General Zaroff, for example, though at first seemingly an evil freak, may be the representative for the hunters of this world, who with the utmost diligence and concentration, chase animals that run away and attempt to hide, but in the end are tracked down and efficiently deprived of life, for the entertainment and the inner, restless viciousness of human beings. Is hunting not a sport that people participate in for the sake of entertainment? General Zaroff resembles many of the hunters of the real world: rich and actually quite sophisticated and civilized, living lives of luxurious and self-indulgent industry.
For myself, “The Most Dangerous Game” was more than anything else anadventure story which provided me an experience of entertainment and appreciation of the cleverness of the author. Basic tools of literary analysis allowed me to understand and also appreciate the story’s main themes on hunting and the animal nature that is brought out in the prey, even when that prey is not an animal, even when that prey is human, like the readers of this memorable work of literature. This short story is a fascinating, captivating short piece of literature which provides an entirely new perspective on an activity that is questionable, but seldom questioned as effectively as it is in "The Most Dangerous Game".
About this Document
A review of Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game."