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As Rainsford is floundering in the water, and he is closer to the island, the description of what he sees uses verbs that would suggest violence and suffering: "the jungle weeds were crushed down and the moss was lacerated; one patch of weeds was stained crimson." The words crushed and lacerated are verbs that provide deep emotion if applied to any sense of wonder like Rainsford must have felt at that time; "stained crimson" describes blood found upon the vegetation, which is never a good sign. Another description of the setting that sets a type of negative tone is when it says, "the muttering and growling of the sea breaking on a rocky shore," suggests that there is a warning sound about the island; and, the rocky shore could also mean that Rainsford's experience there will also be rocky.
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