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mattbuckley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As Rainsford tries to allude the expert hunter Zaroff, he must use every trick he knows. He starts off running in desperation, but then he gets his wits back and decides to "play the fox" and give Zaroff a seemingly impossible trail to follow. Zaroff, naturally follows the trail with ease and lets Rainsford go for another day of good "sport". Rainsford then creates traps for Zaroff using his surroundings. He creates the Malay Mancatcher and wounds Zaroff on the shoulder as "the dead tree, delicately adjusted to rest on the cut living one, crashed down and struck the general a glancing blow". He also creates the Burmese Tiger Pit where he planted stakes in the bottom of a pit with the points facing up. He also creates a trap that kills Ivan. It involved "a springy young sapling and to it he fastened his hunting knife". This is used to spring up and kill the victim. Unfortunately, it kills Ivan and not Zaroff.

aszerdi | Student

The first trap Rainsford makes is a Maylay Mancatcher:

"His foot touched the protruding bough that was the trigger. Even as he touched it, the general sensed his danger and leaped back with the agility of an ape. But he was not quite quick enough; the dead tree, delicately adjusted to rest on the cut living one, crashed down and struck the general a glancing blow on the shoulder as it fell; but for his alertness, he must have been smashed beneath it. He staggered, but he did not fall; nor did he drop his revolver. He stood there, rubbing his injured shoulder, and Rainsford, with fear again gripping his heart, heard the general's mocking laugh ring through the jungle."Rainsford," called the general, "if you are within sound of my voice, as I suppose you are, let me congratulate you. Not many men know how to make a Malay mancatcher"

He then makes a Burmese tiger pit:

"Rainsford had dug himself in in France when a second's delay meant death. That had been a placid pastime compared to his digging now. The pit grew deeper; when it was above his shoulders, he climbed out and from some hard saplings cut stakes and sharpened them to a fine point. These stakes he planted in the bottom of the pit with the points sticking up. With flying fingers he wove a rough carpet of weeds and branches and with it he covered the mouth of the pit. Then, wet with sweat and aching with tiredness, he crouched behind the stump of a lightning-charred tree."

He also attatches a knife to a tree branch which functions as a kind of spring:

They would be on him any minute now. His mind worked frantically. He thought of a native trick he had learned in Uganda. He slid down the tree. He caught hold of a springy young sapling and to it he fastened his hunting knife, with the blade pointing down the trail; with a bit of wild grapevine he tied back the sapling. Then he ran for his life. The hounds raised their voices as they hit the fresh scent. Rainsford knew now how an animal at bay feels.

He had to stop to get his breath. The baying of the hounds stopped abruptly, and Rainsford's heart stopped too. They must have reached the knife.

He shinned excitedly up a tree and looked back. His pursuers had stopped. But the hope that was in Rainsford's brain when he climbed died, for he saw in the shallow valley that General Zaroff was still on his feet. But Ivan was not. The knife, driven by the recoil of the springing tree, had not wholly failed."

Read the study guide:
The Most Dangerous Game

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