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What does the last line of the story tell us about Rainsford's evolution as a...

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arseng | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted March 24, 2010 at 4:28 PM via web

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What does the last line of the story tell us about Rainsford's evolution as a character?

My question is about this passage: "He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided."

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 24, 2010 at 10:20 PM (Answer #1)

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The argument that you hear about this line is that it shows that Rainsford has lost his morality.  This argument says that the line shows that Rainsford has become just like Zaroff.

When he first heard about what the general was doing, Rainsford was disgusted.  He thought that the idea of hunting people and killing for fun was terrible and uncivilized.  But people argue that he has now changed.  They say that this line says that he has (perhaps) come to agree with Zaroff's point of view.  That is why he enjoys Zaroff's bed -- it is because he now has become like Zaroff.

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jdslinky | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted March 24, 2010 at 10:23 PM (Answer #2)

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The last line of the story reflects Rainsford's evolution as a character in that he has survived "the game." It was a game he did not want to play to begin with, but was rather forced into. His resourcefulness, bravery, and cunning served Rainsford well in the challenge put on him by Zaroff. In the end, after he has outsmarted Zaroff and beaten him back to the house, he is able to sneak into the bedroom and overtake the general in hand-to-hand combat.

His reflection about having never slept in a better bed shows that he has come full circle. His journey began on a quest to hunt for entertainment, and in essence, ended victoriously after having been the one hunted. The irony is immense!

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 25, 2010 at 1:28 PM (Answer #3)

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I have always found it interesting that Rainsford decided to spend the night in Zaroff's bed at the end of Richard Connell's short story, "The Most Dangerous Game." Indeed, Rainsford has come full circle. He, too, has killed a man, and he will sleep well in the Russian's bed. Rainsford had the chance to escape the island without fulfilling the vengeful act that concluded the story, but Zaroff's murderous stalking of human prey changed Rainsford. He was more than just exhausted: He had also taken part in a new kind of hunt, and he was satisfied with the result.

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 25, 2010 at 1:24 AM (Answer #4)

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Literally, Rainsford has been fighting for his life for 3 days. I'm sure he had never in his life experienced the restlessness he likely encountered over those three days. Exhaustion was finally allowed to take over since the fight was over. 

I think this was the first time his body likely allowed itself to sleep. No matter how terrible the bed would have been I think it would have been Rainsford's greatest night of sleep.

What's cool about a line like this one to end a story is the fact that it can be taken so many ways.

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