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In Richard Connell's short story "The Most Dangerous Game," Rainsford, the protagonist, uses his ability to think under pressure to save his life. General Zaroff, a psychotic Russian hunter, hunts human beings on his island and Rainsford is the next victim. As the hunt begins, Rainsford panics and runs as fast as he can to get away from Zaroff; however, he stops to collect himself and think through the situation at hand. The first strategy that Rainsford employs is to leave a trail for Zaroff that twists, turns, and doubles back upon itself--for confusion's sake. For the first night, he decides to sleep in a tree and away from his planned trail. On the second day, Rainsford builds a Malay man-catcher using two trees that helped with its construction. Sadly, Zaroff isn't caught or killed by it; he escapes with a wound to the shoulder. In order to keep himself sane during such a traumatic experience, Rainsford keeps telling himself not to lose his nerve. The next day, Rainsford makes a Burmese tiger pit that kills one of Zaroff's dogs. Then he rigs his knife to a tree branch that springs up and stabs Zaroff's servant, Ivan. After that incident, Rainsford tells himself, "Nerve, nerve, nerve!" in order to keep his brain in the game. These reminders also challenge Rainsford to do things that he wouldn't normally do--like jumping off of a cliff to save his life in the water below.
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