How important is suspense in The Most Dangerous Game?
Connell's use of suspense keeps the reader interested and excited throughout the story as they wonder whether Rainsford will survive the dangerous game. At the beginning of the story, Connell creates suspense when Rainsford accidentally falls into the sea. He is forced to swim towards the enigmatic, foreboding island in the dark. After Rainsford discovers that Zaroff will be hunting him for three days throughout Ship-Trap Island, the reader sympathizes with Rainsford's dire situation and is filled with excitement, anxiety, and tension.
During the game, there are numerous suspenseful moments when the reader believes that either Rainsford will be murdered or Zaroff will die. At the beginning of the game, Connell creates suspense while Rainsford is hiding in the tree and Zaroff slowly approaches before suddenly turning back. Other suspenseful moments include Rainsford watching as Zaroff narrowly survives the Malay mancatcher and the Burmese tiger pit. Connell also creates suspense towards the end of the game when Zaroff is closing in on Rainsford. Rainsford is forced to jump into the sea in order to survive. The short story even has a suspenseful ending—when Rainsford challenges Zaroff to a fight to the death. Overall, Connell's use of suspense drives the plot while keeping the reader interested and excited throughout the story.
Suspense is key to the impact the story makes to the reader. The title itself says that suspense should ensue because this "game" is a dangerous one. The reader is kept on the edge of his or her seat as Rainsford tried to elude General Zaroff in order to keep his life. It is very suspenseful when Rainsford is hiding in the tree after making what he thought was an impossible trail to follow and Zaroff is standing just below him. It is suspenseful as the chase is underway when Rainsford sets the Malay trap that kills Ivan. Finally when Rainsford leaps off the cliff to what we think is his death and then he appears in Zaroff bedroom we are suspended wondering what Rainsford's final move will be.