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The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell
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What do you think happens after the ending in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Rainsford finally understands the jaguar's feelings. He might swear off hunting forever, but he also might become a hunter like Zaroff.

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When Rainsford is still on the yacht with Whitney, they discuss hunting. Whitney suggests that while hunting is a great sport, it is not so great for the prey (in this case, the jaguar). Rainsford replies that he doesn't care about the jaguar's feelings. He adds, "The world is made up of two classes—the hunters and the huntees." Ironically, he ends up being the "huntee" when Zaroff forces Rainsford to become his prey. At this point, Rainsford finally understands the jaguar's feelings. In other words, he finally appreciates the fear one experiences while being hunted. Given this new appreciation, it is possible that, after killing Zaroff, Rainsford might swear off hunting forever. Since he knows the anguish of being hunted, he might decide never to put another living being through such an ordeal.

The end of the story suggests otherwise, though. After defeating Zaroff, Rainsford sleeps in his (Zaroff's) bed. This suggests that he has become just like Zaroff. Rainsford was initially appalled that Zaroff enjoyed hunting human beings, but sleeping in Zaroff's bed is symbolic and indicates that he might become just like the general. If this is the case, Rainsford might just stay on the island and continue Zaroff's practice of hunting humans. According to what Rainsford said to Whitney on the yacht, he has a choice: become the hunter or the huntee.

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