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The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell
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What does the general want from Rainsford in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

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As soon as General Zaroff meets Rainsford at his chateau, he is interested in the American big game hunter. Zaroff instantly recognizes Rainsford and mentions that he read his book "about hunting snow leopards in Tibet." At first, the relationship between the two men is quite cordial. They share a...

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As soon as General Zaroff meets Rainsford at his chateau, he is interested in the American big game hunter. Zaroff instantly recognizes Rainsford and mentions that he read his book "about hunting snow leopards in Tibet." At first, the relationship between the two men is quite cordial. They share a passion for the same sport. At dinner, Rainsford even thinks of the general as an "affable host, a true cosmopolite." Rainsford, however, does notice the general seems to be "studying him." In fact, the general is definitely sizing up Rainsford, and may even have it in his mind from the very beginning that he will eventually hunt Rainsford. After revealing that he actually hunts men, the general offers to hunt with Rainsford, who severely criticizes Zaroff for his abominable practice and sternly refuses to participate, labeling Zaroff a cold-blooded murderer. Soon enough, the general tells Rainsford he will be hunted. The general is excited by the idea of matching wits with another accomplished hunter:

"You'll find this game worth playing," the general said enthusiastically. "Your brain against mine. Your woodcraft against mine. Outdoor chess! And the stake is not without value, eh?"

During the actual hunt, the general is certainly not disappointed. Rainsford proves to be an elusive and resourceful prey. In the end, the general may have gotten exactly what he wanted out of Rainsford, a competitive and thrilling adventure, not the usual boring pursuit that slowly eroded his love for hunting.

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