What are some symbols in "The Most Dangerous Game" and why are they important to the story?

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teacherscribe | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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I don't know that "The Most Dangerous Game" has that many symbols in it.  It has a few themes, but it's more of an adventure story than a story filled with symbolism.  But if I had to take a shot - I'd look at Zaroff's mansion.  I think this could represent his love of hunting and killing.  Zaroff obviously is very wealthy and quite intelligent; however, instead of using his money and talents to benefit humanity, he uses them to destroy it.  To his credit, when Rainsford learns what Zaroff deems is the best type of game to hunt, he is revolted.  For Rainsford it is murder, not sport.  He sees a clear distinction between animals and human life.  Zaroff, in his greed and blood lust, has lost that distinction.  Now the interesting thing to examine is since Rainsford defeats Zaroff in the climax and now has sole possession of the mansion and island, has his attitude toward hunting and the value of human life changed?  Or will he become as corrupted as Zaroff after getting a taste of the most dangerous game?