What is the source of the conflict that Rainsford struggles with as he swims to shore?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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There are two main conflicts which Rainsford, from Connell's short story "The Most Dangerous Game," must face when struggling to get to Ship-Trap Island (Zaroff's island).

First, given the fact that Rainsford has fallen overboard, he faces an external conflict. External conflict is divided into three subcategories: man verses man, man verses nature, and man verses the supernatural. Rainsford is facing an external conflict against nature.

The cry was pinched off short as the blood-warm waters of the Caribbean Sea closed over his head. 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.

For a seemingly endless time he fought the sea.

Here, Rainsford finds himself struggling against the waters of the Caribbean Sea. The sea, being a natural object/thing, is forcing Rainsford to fight for his life. The sea water is filling his mouth and the sea is battling to keep his in its depths.Therefore, the sea is the first source of conflict which Rainsford must overcome.

The second conflict which Rainsford faces is one of internal conflict. Internal conflict is when a man finds that he is fighting with himself. Morality normally plays a large roll here, but this is not the case in this story. Instead, Rainsford must call upon his inner strength to make it to the island. He is also mentally struggling with the gun shots which he heard before and after falling off of the boat. Therefore, the second source of conflict which Rainsford must face is himself.

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