How does Rainsford and Whitney's discussion about hunting at the start of the story foreshadow later developments?

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mercut1469 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Foreshadowing in a piece of literature is when the author provides hints or clues to suggest what may take place later in the story. In the short story "The Most Dangerous Game," Richard Connell uses foreshadowing during the exposition of the story in the conversation on the yacht between Rainsford and Whitney. There are actually two examples of foreshadowing in the conversation. Whitney claims that the island they are passing is dreaded by the sailors on the yacht. Later, of course, the reader learns the reason for this dread. The conversation also establishes Rainsford's opinion of hunting. While Whitney laments that he believes the animals they hunt have feelings of fear and pain, Rainsford totally dismisses his friend's obversations:

"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 the hunters."

This statement is mirrored later in the story when General Zaroff explains why he hunts humans, and Rainsford, because he becomes the "huntee," realizes the fear of being pursued by a hunter whose main intent is to kill. This experience most certainly changes Rainsford's views on hunting. At the end of the story he even refers to himself as a "beast at bay."

cybil eNotes educator| Certified Educator

On board a yacht bound for South America, Rainsford and Whitney talk about hunting jaguars. When Rainsford declares that jaguar hunting is the "best sport in the world," Whitney replies, "for the hunter, not for the jaguar." Rainsford disdainfully responds, "Who cares how a jaguar feels? ... The world is made up of two classes-- the hunters and the hunted. Luckily you and I are hunters."

Later in the story Rainsford will become the hunted; he will discover what it feels like to become "an animal at bay." His experience is terrifying. The opening conversation with Whitney foreshadows Rainsford's "game" with General Zaroff when Rainsford unfortunately has the chance to find out how a hunted animal feels.And he discovers that hunted prey indeed experiences fear.

Read the study guide:
The Most Dangerous Game

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