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What is some symbolism that is produced in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

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angelchild | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted June 3, 2010 at 10:21 AM via web

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What is some symbolism that is produced in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

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

Posted June 3, 2010 at 11:04 AM (Answer #1)

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General Zaroff poses as a civilized man living in civilized surroundings while committing the most uncivilized actions possible toward other humans. His Cossack upbringing is a partial explanation for his behavior. Cossacks were among the fiercest of Russia's soldiers during the 19th and early 20th centuries, known for their excellent horsemanship skills and their loyalty to the Czar. The Cossacks were displaced and dispersed following the overthrow of Czar Nicholas, and this is presumably why Zaroff is now living on his isolated island. He symbolizes both the last of a dying breed of faithful soldier as well as a horrible new breed of killer.

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kalick | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted June 3, 2010 at 10:32 AM (Answer #2)

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The color crimson is a subtle detail that appears at least twice in the short story.  First, as Rainsford washes up on shore, he notices the color on the "lacerated" plants.  Next, we are told General Zaroff's sash is crimson.  The color is vibrant, violent, and bold--much like the game itself.

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 3, 2010 at 10:40 AM (Answer #3)

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"The Most Dangerous Game" is repleat with animal imagery and hunting symbolism:

I hope the jaguar guns have come from Purdey's.

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...high screaming sound, the sound of an animal in an extremity of anguish and terror.

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a large animal--had thrashed about in the underbrush; the jungle weeds were crushed down and the moss was lacerated;

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About the hall were mounted heads of many animals--lions, tigers, elephants, moose, bears; larger or more perfect specimens Rainsford had never seen.

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...but my real interest was always the hunt. I have hunted every kind of game in every land. It would be impossible for me to tell you how many animals I have killed.

Connell uses animal and hunting symbolism to underscore his survivalist themes and to blur the line between animal and human fear and suffering.  All the characters, Whitney, Rainsford, Zaroff, and Ivan are hunters, and they seem to think humans are not only the best hunters but the best prey.

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