In Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game," Rainsford changes his entire philosophy about hunting. Find and write down two lines—one from the beginning one at the end—that shows the change in...

In Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game," Rainsford changes his entire philosophy about hunting. Find and write down two lines—one from the beginning one at the end—that shows the change in Rainsford.

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the beginning of the story, Rainsford is having a conversation with Whitney about hunting and says,

You're a big-game hunter, not a philosopher. Who cares how a jaguar feels? (Connell, 1).

Whitney disagrees with Rainsford's philosophy that animals have no understanding and believes that they can comprehend the fear of pain and death. Rainford displays his lack of empathy and perspective by saying,

Be a realist. The world is made up of two classes—the hunters and the huntees. Luckily, you and I are hunters (Connell, 1).

As the story progresses, Rainsford finds himself being pursued by a maniacal hunter, General Zaroff. Rainsford is forced to play the role of the animal throughout the "game," which drastically changes his perspective on hunting. Rainsford runs through the forest, climbs trees, sets traps, and swims in the ocean to avoid General Zaroff. At the end of the story, Rainsford surprises General Zaroff in his chamber. When Zaroff congratulates Rainsford on surviving the three day "game," Rainsford responds by saying,

I am still a beast at bay (Connell, 15). 

Rainsford is essentially saying that he feels like a threatened animal, and he is ready to defend himself. Rainsford's comment also reveals his change in philosophy. He has gained perspective and can empathize with the animals being hunted. Rainsford knows firsthand what it is like to feel the fear of pain and death. 

tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game," the protagonist, Sanger Rainsford, is considered a dynamic character because he changes his views about hunting from the beginning of the story to the end. Rainsford learns what it is like to be a "beast at bay," which is to say that he understands what it feels like to be hunted and fear for his life. When Rainsford speaks to Whitney on the yacht at the beginning of the story, however, his philosophy about hunting is as follows:

"The world is made up of two classes—the hunters and the huntees. Luckily, you and I are the hunters."

General Zaroff believes in the same philosophy as stated by Rainsford above; however, he turns the gun on other men. Rainsford tells General Zaroff that a line is crossed when a hunter hunts men—it's murder. Rainsford claims that he will never kill another man. After being hunted like an animal for three days and nights, however, Rainsford changes his mind and kills General Zaroff. Before he does, though, he signals this change of mind by telling Zaroff the following:

I am still a beast at bay. . . Get ready, General Zaroff.

The end of the story informs the reader that Rainsford is the winner because he sleeps in Zaroff's bed that night. Therefore, in the end, and after a traumatic experience of being hunted, Rainsford changes his entire philosophy about hunting.

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a good question. In the beginning of the story, Rainsford gives his philosophy of life. There are hunters and huntees. He says to his friend these words:

"Nonsense," laughed Rainsford. "This hot weather is making you soft, Whitney. Be a realist. The world is made up of two classes--the hunters and the huntees. Luckily, you and I are hunters. Do you think we've passed that island yet?"

Rainsford does not elaborate any further. Out of context, we might even say that Rainsford's classification is absolute, which means humans are included as well. 

As the story progresses, Rainsford finds himself on an island with general Zaroff.  Zaroff is a madman, and he actually takes Rainsford's words and applies them. He finds no joy in hunting animals, because they are too easy for him. So, he creates a "new" animal. He begins to hunt humans. They irony of this for Rainsford is that he becomes the hunted. When this happens, Rainsford can feel what animals feel. The text says:

Rainsford knew now how an animal at bay feels.

This might suggest that Rainsford has changed. However, I should point out that we cannot be certain. In the end, Rainsford does kill Zaroff. 

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The Most Dangerous Game

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