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What message about masculinity appears in Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game?"

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ktkettle | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 15, 2013 at 5:49 AM via web

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What message about masculinity appears in Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game?"

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

Posted June 27, 2013 at 12:09 AM (Answer #1)

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Perhaps the most poignant aspect of masculinity appearing in Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game" is the lack of any female character. The story, instead, focuses upon two very skilled male hunters. Each man possesses great strength and prowess necessary to survive.

Essentially, the story is built around the stereotypical male. Strong, athletic, a mind for survival, the characters live in a world made for the men of the world. The lack of any female, or feminine characteristics, speaks to the necessity of masculine abilities and the necessity of these "survival of the fittest" attributes.

The message about masculinity, in the story, lies in the fact that men are made for physical struggles against both other men and nature itself. Connell's narrator seems to be one which wishes to illuminate the positive characteristics of the man (strength, wisdom, superiority) while downplaying the negative characteristics of the man (weakness, ineptness, and inferiority). Compacting this idea is the fact that Zaroff only deems man as an appropriate challenge against a hunter. Given that men possess reason, and animals do not, Zaroff believes that man is the only suitable challenger.

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