What techniques does the author use in the exposition of "The Most Dangerous Game" to foreshadow the plot twist which is to come?

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mercut1469 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the exposition of his short story "The Most Dangerous Game" Richard Connell uses both setting and dialogue to foreshadow later events. The initial setting of the story is on a yacht heading toward South America where the protagonist Rainsford and his companion Whitney will hunt jaguars. As they pass an unseen island Whitney tells Rainsford that the sailors and even the captain of the yacht are uneasy about passing what is mysteriously called "Ship-Trap Island." Whitney says that, "Sailors have a curious dread of the place." The mystery of the island is later revealed. It is the home of General Zaroff who, because he has grown bored with hunting animals, now uses his private island to hunt the sailors who are shipwrecked. Therefore, the "dread" is well founded.

During the conversation between the two men Whitney also suggests that the animals they hunt understand fear and pain. Rainsford objects to this assertion, claiming animals have no understanding. Whitney disagrees, saying,

"I rather think they understand one thing—fear. The fear of pain and the fear of death."

This discussion most likely was on Rainsford's mind later in the story when he is being hunted by the general. He finally understands the fear that the hunter strikes in his prey. After the general survives one of Rainsford's traps and assures the American that he will return, Rainsford's fear is magnified:

...Rainsford, with fear again gripping his heart, heard the general's mocking laugh ring through the jungle...Rainsford took up his flight again. It was flight now, a desperate, hopeless flight...

At the end of the story Rainsford admits that he is a "beast at bay" and there can be only one outcome to the hunt, the death of one of the men. Rainsford's experience as a hunted animal echoes the words of Whitney in the exposition of the story. 

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The Most Dangerous Game

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