Briefly describe those elements of the setting of this story, which make it suitable for FANTASY.  "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Several elements of fantasy exist in Richard Connell's exciting story, "The Most Dangerous Game."

1.  Setting is not in a fixed time

Ship-Trap Island with its castle could easily exist in the 17th through present times.  While the ship on which Rainsford and his friend sail to hunt exotic animals would more likely not be around until later since rifles for hunting were developed later, perhaps in the 19th century after Remington developed rifles; nevertheless, there is yet a wide time span.

2. The setting is a remote, mysterious place that has a castle and a grotesque servant

 The island has the ominous name of Ship-Trap, and there is a Death Swamp.  Zaroff's man, Ivan, has had his tongue removed and cannot talk, and he is totally subservient to his master

3.  The plot has surprising twists

As Rainsford dines formally with the general, he is shocked as this apparently cultured man suggests his most dangerous game.  Then, we he learns that he is to be the prey, Rainsford is truly astounded.

During the hunt, it seems as though General Zaroof and Ivan and the dogs have Rainsford trapped in the tree, Rainsford has an incredulous realization: 

did not want to believe what his reson told him was true....The general was saving him for another day's sport....Then it was that Rainsford knew the full meaning of terror. 

4.  There is a dynamic villain

Certainly, General Zaroff, the Cossack, is not a stereotypical villain.  Even at the end of the story, Zaroff shows enthusiasm for the game and respect for Rainsford's prowess.

5.  The hero faces long odds against him

Throughout the narrative, it appears that Rainsford will fall victim to Zaroff, just as all those before him have.  He learns the meaning of terror, and as the hunt continues, he comes to know "how an animal at bay feels." Rainsford seems blocked in his escape as he is at the edge of a cliff where twenty feet below the sea "rumbled and hissed."

6.  The strong rule the weak 

Clearly, "The Most Dangerous Game" is the story of the surival of the fittest, mentally and physcially.


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The Most Dangerous Game

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