What literary devices are used in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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There are many literary devices used in Connell's short story "The Most Dangerous Game".

1. The following quote contains personification (the giving of human characteristics to nonhuman/nonliving things):

dank tropical night that was palpable as it pressed its thick warm blackness in upon the yacht.

This is an example of personification given night cannot physically press itself against something (this is a characteristic and human possesses, not something night can typically "do."

2. The next example is a simile. A simile is the comparison between two unlike things using "like" or "as".

"Ugh! It's like moist black velvet."

Here, the night is compared to black velvet.

Another example of a simile is:

The sea was as flat as a plate-glass window.

Here, the sea is compared to a window.

3. "Bleak blackness" is an example of alliteration. Alliteration is the repetition of a consonant sound (typically used in poetry). Here the "b" sound repeats and creates exemplifies alliteration.


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

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Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game" contains quite a few literary devices. I will try to add a couple more to the previous post.  

"The Most Dangerous Game" makes use of foreshadowing. There's actually quite a bit of foreshadowing. In the beginning of the story, Whitney and Rainsford are talking about the mysterious island off to the side of the ship. Whitney tells Rainsford that sailors have a dread of the island. Readers also learn that it is called "Ship-Trap Island." Readers will eventually discover why it is called that, and sailors do have reason to dread the island.

Another thing that is foreshadowed is hunting an animal that can reason and feel. Whitney feels some sympathy for the jaguar, and Rainsford tells him that is ridiculous. Rainsford will soon be put into a situation where he personally experiences the fear that prey probably feel.

I'll include an idiom that this story uses.  

He lived a year in a minute.

An idiom is a phrase that is not meant to be interpreted literally. Obviously, Rainsford didn't actually live a full year in a single sixty seconds. The text is saying that Rainsford had a lot of time pass through his mind in a very short amount of time. Perhaps you have heard somebody say that their life passed before their eyes in an instant. That is similar to what the narrator is trying to describe.


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