After meeting Zaroff, Rainsford spends a sleepless night because he cannot "quiet his brain." Explain what's going through Rainsford's head.

Expert Answers
lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rainsford is having trouble sleeping. He cannot rest due to his anxiety from learning that Zaroff hunts human beings. During dinner, Zaroff had disclosed this information about hunting humans. This bizarre action causes Rainsford to stay awake during the night. He is thinking about what Zaroff told him during dinner:

While the men are eating, Zaroff reveals his passion for the hunt. He tells Rainsford he hunts "big game" on the island—game he has imported. Hunting had ceased to be a challenge to Zaroff, so he decided to hunt a new animal, one that could reason. Rainsford realizes with horror that Zaroff actually hunts humans

Now, Rainsford is lying awake. He cannot sleep. Zaroff has shared his strange behavior which involves hunting humans. Rainsford wonders what will happen if a human being refuses to be hunted by Zaroff:

[Rainsford] wonders what happens if a man refuses to be hunted. He finds there is no refusing Zaroff, for either a man goes on the hunt or he is turned over to the brutish Ivan. Zaroff never loses. Although Rainsford passes the night in comfortable quarters, he has trouble sleeping. As he finally dozes off, he hears a pistol shot in the jungle.

No doubt, Rainsford has spent a sleepless night thinking that he may be the next victim of Zaroff's hunt. He plans to refuse Zaroff. He plans to demand to be taken back to the mainland. Zaroff has other plans and refuses to honor Rainsford's wishes:

The next day Rainsford demands to leave the island. Zaroff protests that they have not gone hunting yet, then informs Rainsford that he, in fact, is to be hunted. Zaroff tells him that if he survives three days in the jungle, he will be returned to the mainland, but he must tell no one of Zaroff's hunt.

Zaroff hunts Rainsford for three days. Truly, Rainsford is exhausted from the hunt. Ultimately, Rainsford survives the hunt. In the end, it is presumed that Rainsford kills Zaroff for Rainsford sleeps in Zaroff's bed. He states that he has never had a better night's sleep:

That night, Rainsford sleeps with immense enjoyment in Zaroff's comfortable bed.

Read the study guide:
The Most Dangerous Game

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question