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The conversation between Rainsford and Whitney at the beginning of "The Most Dangerous Game" serves several purposes. First, it serves as exposition, giving the reader some background on the life and occupation of Sanger Rainsford, big game hunter. It also introduces the setting of the story: Ship-Trap Island, a mysterious piece of land somewhere in the Caribbean Sea. The conversation foreshadows some of the later events, particularly about the differences between the hunter and the hunted, and whether the prey can actually feel fear. It creates suspense, with the talk about Ship-Trap: its superstitious nature and the "dread" that is felt by the men, and the blackness and stillness of the night. It also sets the tone for the tale of adventure that follows. The two opposing opinions about the hunter's prey, for which Rainsford feels no sympathy, will soon be put to a test, and Rainsford will find that his initial beliefs are unsubstantiated.
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