What are two examples of foreshadowing in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

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laurniko eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Some examples of foreshadowing in "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell are the warning about how sailors feel about Ship-Trap Island, the conversation between Whitney and Rainsford about hunting and the jaguar, and the scream Rainsford hears as he swims. 

When Whitney points out the island, he explains to Rainsford that "sailors have a curious dread of the place. I don't know why. Some superstition--." Rainsford is so focused on the island that he ignores the warning and just tries to see land through the dark night.

Connell foreshadows what happens on the island by alerting readers that something is wrong with it. While not all superstitions are based on reality, it's clear that something is amiss. If Rainsford had paid more attention to Whitney's words, he might have avoided the entire encounter with General Zaroff.

Another example of foreshadowing in the story is the conversation between Rainsford and Whitney about hunting in the Amazon; they're traveling there when Rainsford falls off the ship. Connell writes:

"The best sport in the world," agreed Rainsford.

"For the hunter," amended Whitney. "Not for the jaguar."

"Don't talk rot, Whitney," said Rainsford. "You're a big-game hunter, not a philosopher. Who cares how a jaguar feels?"

"Perhaps the jaguar does," observed Whitney.

Rainsford goes on to tell Whitney that the world has two classes: the hunters and the hunted. Rainsford identities himself and his companion as hunters. Unfortunately for him, he'll experience the fear and panic of the jaguar soon when he arrives on Ship-Trap Island and plays the game with General Zaroff.  

Finally, the scream that Rainsford hears when he swims toward the island foreshadows the game that Zaroff hosts. It says that the sound "came out of the darkness, a high screaming sound, the sound of an animal in an extremity of anguish and terror. He did not recognize the animal that made the sound." Connell goes on to say that Rainsford didn't even attempt to identify it.

The sound of the animal screaming in pain -- likely a human -- foreshadows Rainsford becoming the hunted as Zaroff pursues him across the island later in the story. 

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To examples of foreshadowing in “The Most Dangerous Game” are the name of the island, “Ship-trap Island,” and the conversation between Rainsford and Whitney about whether or not animals have feelings.

Foreshadowing is an author’s hint of what is to come.  Authors use it in scary stories like “The Most Dangerous Game” to increase the suspense and make the story more exciting so the reader wants to keep reading.

The first example is from the very beginning of the story when Rainsford and Whitney discuss the name of the island they are passing.  It is called “Ship-Trap” island, a very ominous name.

"The old charts call it `Ship-Trap Island,"' Whitney replied." A suggestive name, isn't it? Sailors have a curious dread of the place. I don't know why. Some superstition--"

Although Whitney dismisses the meaning of the name as superstitious, it is a not-so-subtle hint to the reader that something is not quite right with the island.  Zaroff seems to have chosen the island because of its name, not the other way around, because it was named as such on old charts.

The second example of foreshadowing is the conversation between Whitney and Rainsford about hunting.  Rainsford is a famous hunter, and he has written books on the subject.  Rainsford comments that hunting is the best sport in the world, and that he does not care how a jaguar feels.

"Perhaps the jaguar does," observed Whitney.

"Bah! They've no understanding."

"Even so, I rather think they understand one thing--fear. The fear of pain and the fear of death."

This foreshadows the fact that Rainsford is going to be the hunted soon, not the hunter.  He is about to find out exactly how the jaguar feels, and his experience will change how he feels about hunting  forever.

These two examples, and other instances of foreshadowing in the story, create suspense for the reader and make us want to keep reading to find out where the creepy story ends up!

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The Most Dangerous Game

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