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In the passage of Richard Edward Connell's short story The Most Dangerous Game to which the student's question refers, the reference to a "snarled and ragged jungle" suggests a hostile and forbidding terrain survival in which would likely require a willingness to shear oneself of the basic attributes of civilization. The passage in question follows:
"Where there are pistol shots, there are men. Where there are men, there is food," he thought. But what kind of men, he wondered, in so forbidding a place? An unbroken front of snarled and ragged jungle fringed the shore.
Connell's story is one in which the protagonist, Sanger Rainsford, is forced into the role of inhuman beast for the pleasure of General Zaroff, who lords over this island like a god. Rainsford is hunted by Zaroff as if he were an animal, albeit one possessed of the power of reason thought to lift man above animal. All of this, however, is unknown to Rainsford at this point in the story. What Rainsford knows is that he has fallen upon an island of dense jungle and that he is in trouble. The irony of his situation, of course, will become evident when he encounters General Zaroff. In the story's opening, Rainsford reveals disdain for the notion that the animals he hunts -- the large jungle animals he has journeyed to South America to stalk and kill -- are anything but unfeeling beasts. "Who cares how a jaguar feels," he replies to Whitney, who had the audacity to suggest that animals are possessed of any kind of emotional feelings. That Rainsford should become the hunted is the story's irony. But it is the harshness of this jungle, and the stories surrounding the island's reputation for danger that provides the context for Rainsford's ruminations regarding the nature of any men he might encounter on this island. "Snarled and ragged" suggests rough men lacking any sense of compassion for any interloper who may wander along. Such men would probably be threatening to Rainsford, he assumes, and the "civilized" nature of the individual into whose palatial estate he blunders provides the story's other element of irony. The truth, however, might be vastly different, as Rainsford himself would become one of this men who exists in the snarled and ragged jungle.
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