How much time elapses in "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game" begins on day one; we know it is night because the ship is passing an island that they can barely see on a 

dank tropical night that was palpable as it pressed its thick warm blackness in upon the yacht.

Rainsford is not sleepy, so he remains on deck. That is when he drops his pipe and subsequently falls overboard. He swims to the shore and arrives, exhausted, when it is still night. He wakes up the next day (day two).

When he opened his eyes he knew from the position of the sun that it was late in the afternoon.

This is the day he finds General Zaroff's house and has dinner with him at the end of the day. After dinner, Zaroff reveals that he hunts humans and intends to hunt Rainsford starting tomorrow.

On the morning of day three, Rainsford receives his limited supplies from Ivan and is forced to be hunted or die. Zaroff spends the night hunting and meets Raisnford for lunch on the third day. This is the plan, according to Zaroff:

"Tonight," said the general, "we will hunt--you and I."

Rainsford really has no choice, so he tacitly agrees to Zaroff's terms.

"I'll cheerfully acknowledge myself defeated if I do not find you by midnight of the third day," said General Zaroff. 

Rainsford creates an elusive trail and Zaroff finds him that night; however, he does not want this hunt to end and walks away. On day four, Rainsford creates a Malay man-catcher and that night he creates the Burmese tiger pit near the Death Swamp. Once again Zaroff finds him but is unable to kill Rainsford. 

On the morning of the third day of hunting (day five of the story), Zaroff hunts with his dogs. Rainsford escapes by jumping off a cliff, and Zaroff goes home satisfied.

At ten he went up to his bedroom. He was deliciously tired, he said to himself, as he locked himself in. There was a little moonlight, so, before turning on his light, he went to the window and looked down at the courtyard. He could see the great hounds, and he called, "Better luck another time," to them. 

This is the end of the fifth day for Rainsford; for Zaroff it is the end of the third day of hunting. We know that Rainsford is hiding behind the curtains, before midnight of the third day of hunting, and sleeps soundly in the general's bed that night. It is the fifth night of the story. 

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