General Zaroff tends to smile often in Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game." For instance, he smiles when he knows that Rainsford is following and understanding his story about how he lost the enjoyment of hunting, which he then compared to American businessmen who lose a business. The next smile after this first one is associated with Zarof's realization of a new animal that he must hunt in order to keep hunting enjoyable.
"The general smiled the quiet smile of one who has faced an obstacle and surmounted it with success," reads the description. Thus, it can be inferred that the smile represents the General's success in discovering a solution to his problem. Rainsford's first response is to tell the General that he must be joking. After finding out that Zaroff is not joking, Rainsford is bewildered. When he finds out that Zaroff wants to hunt an animal that can "reason," Rainsford clues in to the fact that only humans can apply reasoning skills and, of course, that is even more terrible than hunting other animals.