What is Rainsford impression of Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sanger Rainsford's first impression of General Zaroff is one that is positive because he finds the man "singularly handsome."

Having fallen from the yacht and swum to the shore of an island the previous evening, Rainsford collapses in sleep. When he awakens the next day, Rainsford feels reinvigorated; as a result, he heads toward the area from where he has heard the pistol shots. Shortly thereafter, Rainsford sees the print of hunting boots, so he follows the path taken by the owner of these boots. Finally, he can make out the "shadowy outlines of a palatial chateau set on a high bluff." Rainsford reaches the door and lifts the heavy knocker only to be confronted by a "gigantic creature, solidly made and black bearded to the waist." This giant is Ivan, who is deaf and dumb.

Just then, the owner of the chateau descends the stairs behind Ivan. At first, he seems singularly handsome to Rainsford. However, upon second glance, Rainsford notices an original, "almost bizarre quality about the general's face." A tall man, he is past middle age and has white hair; in contrast, his eyebrows and pointed military mustache are as black as night. With his high cheekbones and sharp nose, Rainsford finds General Zaroff's face to be that of an aristocrat "who is accustomed to giving orders."

rleahennis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"The first thing Rainsford discerened was the largest man Rainsford had ever seen...Rainsford's first impression was that the man was singularly handsome; his second was that there was an original almost bizarre quality about the general's face." (Connell). After these initial thoughts, it is clear that Rainsford has met his match with Zaroff, the impression evolves further to the point where Rainsford gains respect for Zaroff's intellect and skill in a game where Zaroff is the hunter and Rainsford the huntee. Rainsford's overwhelming impression of Zaroff is one of fear and admiration and the tension is palpable.  

ned34 | Student

As Rainsford enters the chateau he sees Ivan.  He thought that Ivan was the largest man he had ever seen.  Then down the hall came General Zaroff he mentally noted the man as singularly handsome; his second thought was that there was an original and bizarre quality about the general's face.  These feelings all take place before he even knows exactly how bizarre the general is.  Throughout the story I think that Rainsford becomes more and more concerned with the generals actions.  Then it is revealed that he intends on hunting Rainsford and his feelings are confirmed. 

I just finished this short story with my 9th graders they really enjoyed it.  I hope you enjoy it as much as they did.

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The Most Dangerous Game

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