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The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell

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What does Rainsford say about the hunters and the hunted in the short story "The Most Dangerous Game"?

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Richard Connell's short story "The Most Dangerous Game" is about a twisted hunting contest between two men. Sanger Rainsford, a famous big game hunter, is shipwrecked on a remote island where he meets the diabolical owner of the island, General Zaroff. Zaroff has grown bored with hunting animals, so he now hunts men on his island.

In the beginning of the story, Rainsford and his companion, Whitney, are on their way to the Amazon jungle to hunt jaguars. Just before Rainsford accidentally falls overboard, the two men have a discussion about hunting. Whitney believes that animals have feelings and that they actually know fear and suffering. Rainsford dismisses Whitney's ideas. He believes the hunted were put on the earth for the hunter and it doesn't matter how the animal feels. Rainsford says,

"This hot weather is making you soft, Whitney. Be a realist. The world is made up of two classes—the hunters and the huntees. Luckily, you and I are hunters." 

His words are ironic, as later in the story Rainsford becomes the "huntee" for the hunter Zaroff. He is a "beast at bay," and the reader may come to the conclusion that by the end of the story Rainsford will have a different appreciation of what the hunted animal goes through. It is doubtful Rainsford will ever hunt again after his experience.

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