silhouette of a man with one eye open hiding in the jungle

The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell

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Is "The Most Dangerous Game" escapist or interpretive literature?

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"The Most Dangerous Game" can be seen as either escapist or interpretive literature, or an example of both together. On the surface, it is a thrilling tale of two men pitted against each other in the most simple of situations, with suspense and drama coming from action and reaction. In this sense, it is escapist because it details an unusual circumstance that must be overcome through extraordinary measures.

However, it is also an example of interpretive literature, as a main theme of the story is morality and responsibility. General Zaroff believes that he is morally allowed to hunt and kill humans through his abilities as a strong, alpha-type character.

"The weak of the world were put here to give the strong pleasure. I am strong. Why should I not use my gift? If I wish to hunt, why should I not?"
(Connell, "The Most Dangerous Game,

He thinks that hunting humans is simply the logical progression of hunting animals. Rainsford disagrees with this attitude, but adopts portions of Zaroff's philosophy to survive, up to and including "hunting" Zaroff himself. In this fashion, we can see that there is a deeper meaning in the story beyond the straightforward adventure.


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Interpretive literature.  While the story is ment to be entertaining, Mr. Connell does attempt to push our thinking on matters that are important to our society.  Some of those topics include the discussion on whether hunting for sport is acceptable and weather it is okay to kill if you are getting rid of the dregs of society (as Zaroff explains).

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