What is the setting in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The setting is a Caribbean island called Ship-Trap Island, owned by General Zaroff, sometime in the twenties. 

The story was written in 1924, and there are references to World War I.  Therefore, the story is probably set sometime in the early twenties.  The story’s action mostly takes place on the mysterious Ship-Trap Island, which has a bad reputation among sailors.  It turns out the reputation is deserved, since there is a man who lives on the island who kidnaps and kills sailors regularly. 

Sanger Rainsford, the protagonist, is discussing hunting and life in general with Whitney on a yacht traveling through the Caribbean.  He is told about the island they are passing, which superstitious sailors avoid.  It is a very dark night. 

"The old charts call it `Ship-Trap Island,"' Whitney replied." A suggestive name, isn't it? Sailors have a curious dread of the place. I don't know why. Some superstition--"

Rainsford accidentally falls off the ship.  He hears a shot on the island.  Having no choice, Rainsford swims to the island.  It has dense brush, craggy rocks, and harsh waves.

Dense jungle came down to the very edge of the cliffs. What perils that tangle of trees and underbrush might hold for him did not concern Rainsford just then. All he knew was that he was safe from his enemy, the sea, and that utter weariness was on him.

On the island there is something you would really not expect to see.  Zaroff has built himself a huge chateau.  He likes to have a facsimile of civilization, because he considers himself civilized.  His other improvement to the island is a group of lights that indicate there is a channel where there isn’t one, thus earning the island its name by trapping ships.  Zaroff can then use the sailors in his hunting, because he hunts human beings.

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The Most Dangerous Game

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