What are some quotes from "The Most Dangerous Game" that illustrate man vs. self, man vs. man, and man vs. nature?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Man vs. Man:

After General Zaroff and Rainsford finish their meal, the general elaborates on the "game." His comment describes the man vs. man conflict throughout the story when he tells Rainsford,

Your brain against mine. Your woodcraft against mine. Your strength and stamina against mine. Outdoor chess! (Connell 11).

At the end of the story, General Zaroff congratulates Rainsford for surviving the game. However, Rainsford still feels like an animal being hunted and challenges the general by saying,

I am still a beast at bay...Get ready, General Zaroff (Connell 15).

Man vs. Self:

After spending his first night resting on the limbs of a tree, Rainsford watches as the general calmly approaches the tree before casually walking away. Rainsford realizes that General Zaroff is saving him for another day and begins to feel anxious and afraid. However, Rainsford calms himself by saying,

I will not lose my nerve. I will not (Connell 12).

Man vs. Nature:

At the beginning of the story, Rainsford falls off the yacht into the tumultuous sea. He struggles to regain his composure and swims to the surface against the waves. Rainsford's struggle to survive the rough open waters is considered a man vs. nature conflict. Connell writes,

He struggled up to the surface and tried to cry out, but the wash from the speeding yacht slapped him in the face and the salt water in his open mouth made him gag and strangle. Desperately he struck out with strong strokes after the receding lights of the yacht, but he stopped before he had swum fifty feet (2).

While Rainsford is attempting to flee General Zaroff, he encounters numerous obstacles throughout Ship-Trap Island. Connell once again depicts a man vs. nature conflict through Rainsford's struggles to avoid and survive the island's Death Swamp by writing,

Then, as he stepped forward, his foot sank into the ooze. He tried to wrench it back, but the muck sucked viciously at his foot as if it were a giant leech. With a violent effort, he tore his feet loose. He knew where he was now. Death Swamp and its quicksand (13).

belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"The Most Dangerous Game" contains various themes of conflict, and acts as a story about a man facing death, adversity, and struggle in the most primal ways. The barbarity of Zaroff is contrasted with the beautiful island and Rainsford's pragmatism. Here is one quote for each of the three queried conflicts:

Man versus Self:

Rainsford had fought his way through the bush for two hours. "I must keep my nerve. I must keep my nerve," he said through tight teeth.

Rainsford, forced into being hunted, is at first unsure how to act. He has always been used to hunting animals and can't figure out what to do at first. However, he admonishes himself not to lose his nerve; his final act demonstrates just how strong his nerve truly is.

Man versus Man:

"...let me congratulate you. Not many men know how to make a Malay mancatcher. Luckily for me I, too, have hunted in Malacca. You are proving interesting, Mr. Rainsford."

Rainsford and Zaroff are both accomplished hunters, and initially they have similar beliefs about natural law. Both believe that all living things are either hunters or prey, and so the strong are meant to survive. The are similar enough in their skills that Rainsford cannot shake Zaroff from his trail, and only  Rainsford's personal determination allows his victory.

Man versus Nature:

Dusk came, then darkness, and still he pressed on. The ground grew softer under his moccasins; the vegetation grew ranker, denser; insects bit him savagely.
(Connell, "The Most Dangerous Game," classicreader.com)

the island is well-suited for a hunting reserve; it has cliffs, swamps, and jungles. Rainsford is trapped inside the island's boundaries, but uses the thick jungle, the soft dirt of the swamp, and finally the dangerous cliffs all to his advantage. Rather than being constrained by nature, Rainsford embraces it as a tool of survival.

cjcusick1 | Student

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The Most Dangerous Game

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