How does the tone affect the setting in the short story?Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game"

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "The Most Dangerous Game," the skeptical tone of Rainsford makes for irony of situation and the suspenseful atmosphere of the macabre setting. For, in the exposition of Connell's story, Rainsford tells his friend, "Don't' talk rot" when Whitney puports that the jaguar feels fear.  "Who cares how a jaguar feels?" Rainsford counters when Whitney pursues the topic, saying that the jaguars even feel the fear of death.  Similarly, Rainsford discounts the superstitions of the old Swede with the cynical remark, "Pure imagination."

As the sequence of events unfold, of course, the irony of Rainsford's words create a horror that is added to the suspense of the action.  Now, Rainsford begins to understand how the jaguar does, indeed, feel: 

Then it was that Rainsford knew the full meaning of terror.....Rainsford knew now how an animal at bay feels.

There is also irony in Rainsford's supercilious remark at the dinner with General Zaroff when he says that his experiences in the war "Did not make me condone cold-blooded murder."  For, in the denouement, Rainsford absolutely delights in what Zaroff has referred to as the "attributes of an ideal quarry":  after defeating Zaroff, Rainsford, satisfied, considers that he "had never slept in a better bed."

The ironic transformation of Rainsford from the incipience of the narrative to its end certainly contributes to the suspense and macabre tone of the setting of Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game."


kimfuji eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"The Most Dangerous Game," is such a gripping read because the author uses elements of the gothic tale to heighten the sense of danger in the setting.

The setting is ominous which is the usual for the Gothic novel. The surroundings are grim.When the main character falls off the yacht, the author describes the water as "blood warm waters of the Caribbean sea". This indicates that something deadly will happen later on.He struggles with the surf, while listening to shooting and the screams. Rainsford hurts himself on rocks which the auhtor describes as "shattered against". In addition, the author uses words that suggest an enemy is near. He says, "the enemy, the sea" and "knit webs of weeds and trees." This makes it seem as though the environment is plotting against him.The way the author describes the setting adds to it's dangerous tone.

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In a short story, I would argue that the tone is probably the most important thing or one of the most important things. In other words, because the story is so limited, the content is less important and there is less room for things like character development or plot development. So, other variables and elements can leave more of an impression. Other things can drive the work. One of those thing is the tone of the work. The tone will color the text and setting. It will also put the reader in a certain frame of mind. In the light of this, tone is absolutely important.

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The Most Dangerous Game

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