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The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell

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In "The Most Dangerous Game," what makes Rainsford the better hunter?

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Since Rainsford survives the three days on the island and ends up killing General Zaroff, he is clearly the more experienced and skilled hunter. Despite the general's impressive display of prized animals and experience hunting around the world, he is an inferior hunter to Rainsford and lacks the desperation and focus needed to win the "game." Rainsford demonstrates his superior skills and intellect by creating improvised traps to slow the general down during the hunt. The general also comments that he has read Rainsford's hunting books, which might imply that Rainsford has more experience and knowledge regarding hunting than Zaroff. This also shows that Zaroff might have learned his hunting techniques from Rainsford. Rainsford is also more focused and determined to win the "game." He is fighting for his survival, while Zaroff is simply having fun. Rainsford's desperation and intensity make him a dangerous opponent. At the end of the story, Rainsford once again reveals that he is the superior hunter by killing Zaroff in hand-to-hand combat.

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This is a good question. Rainsford wins at the end, even though general Zaroff had the advantage (dogs, Ivan, and knowledge of the island). This shows that Rainsford is the superior hunter. Rainsford has three things going for him. 

First, Rainsford is an experienced hunter, probably more experienced that Zaroff. This comes out, because Zaroff says that he read all of Rainsford's books on hunting. This means that is some sense Rainsford is Zaroff's teacher.

You see, I read all books on hunting published in English, French, and Russian. I have but one passion in my life, Mr. Rains. ford, and it is the hunt."

Second, Rainsford has travelled around the world and learned various ways to hunt. For example, Rainsford used a Burmese trap to take out one of Zaroff's dogs.

"You've done well, Rainsford," the voice of the general called. "Your Burmese tiger pit has claimed one of my best dogs. Again you score. I think, Mr. Rainsford, Ill see what you can do against my whole pack. I'm going home for a rest now. Thank you for a most amusing evening."

Finally and arguably most importantly, Rainsford was armed with survival and desperation. So, the hunt may have been a game for Zaroff, but it was not so for Rainsford. 

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