How does Rainsford meet General Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Sanger Rainsford is the protagonist in Richard Connell's short story "The Most Dangerous Game." When the story begins, Rainsford is on a yacht, sailing through the Caribbean on his way to South America to hunt in the Amazon. The ship is passing by a mysterious island in the dark when Rainsford accidentally falls overboard.

He swims to the island and is exhausted. After he wakes up at noon the next day, he begins to search the island looking for some form of civilization and help. After some looking he rounds a bend in the island and the first structure he sees is the general's house:

[H]e saw to his great astonishment that all the lights were in one enormous building--a lofty structure with pointed towers plunging upward into the gloom. His eyes made out the shadowy outlines of a palatial chateau; it was set on a high bluff, and on three sides of it cliffs dived down to where the sea licked greedy lips in the shadows.

This is a positive sign for Rainsford, as he is confident that whoever lives in such a house must surely be able to help him get off the island. 

Rainsford approaches and knocks on the massive and imposing door; he is met by a silent and deadly-looking giant man who is pointing a gun directly at him (we later learn this is Ivan, Zaroff's enforcer and servant). 

Another man was coming down the broad marble steps, an erect, slender man in evening clothes. He advanced to Rainsford and held out his hand.

This is General Zaroff, and he seems to be a most civilized and courteous gentleman. Rainsford soon learns that the two of them have much in common, and Rainsford is even more encouraged that this is the man who will help him get off the island. Things will soon change, of course, but for now Rainsford is happy to meet General Zaroff. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial