What attitude does Rainsford have toward the hunted in his dialogue with Whitney?  

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Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In his beginning dialogue with Whitney, Rainsford displays absolutely no compassion for the animals he hunts and kills.  He asks Whitney, "Who cares how a jaguar feels?" Then he tells Whitney the world is divided into "hunters and huntees," saying they are lucky they are the hunters and not the huntees.  As we read this beginning, we can see that the writer is setting us up for some plot element that will make Rainsford sorry he said this.

The more we learn about the intelligence of animals, the worse a position like Rainsford's seems to me.  There is no indication that Rainsford had ever hunted an animal to feed himself, which most people find to be necessary (even if the slaughter is done for them by a slaughterhouse).  Aside from the consequence of killing off endangered species, who play important roles in the earth's ecosystems, do you think it is ethical to kill animals for sport?