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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tinicraw's profile pic

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

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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.

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readerofbooks's profile pic

readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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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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