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Richard Connell manages to convey a number of tones in his adventure short story "The Most Dangerous Game." As the title suggests, there is an element of danger felt throughout the novel. A dangerous mood persists when Rainsford falls of the yacht, when he meets Ivan, when he learns of Zaroff's true motives, and during the lengthy hunt. An ominous feel is also evident, beginning on the yacht when Whitney and Rainsford discuss the mysterious Ship-Trap Island. Zaroff's conversation, at first interesting to Rainsford, soon turns menacing. The tone turns to horror when Zaroff matter-of-factly tells Rainsford about his murderous new game, and when Rainsford discovers the fear that a prey feels when he is being hunted. Even the ending, when Zaroff declares Rainsford the winner, but Rainsford decides to kill him anyway, leaves the reader wondering if Rainsford has succumbed to the same desires that plagued the general.
The beginning of the story is a good place to begin hunting down the likely tone of the story. Two people are standing on the deck of a ship at night. It could be a quite romantic setting. James Cameron thought so, and used it to great effect in Titanic. However, the opening sequence and tone of "The Most Dangerous Game" is definitely not relaxing and romantic. The two men on the deck are talking about killing animals. Additionally, they are talking about a spooky island that sailors have a "dread" of. The night is so dark that Rainsford and Whitney can't even see the island. The entire first section of the story has a spooky and ominous tone.
That tone continues throughout the story. Rainsford hears some mysterious gunshots on the island, he discovers that there is a man that lures people to the island to be hunted by him, and Rainsford becomes the eventual prey. I would say that the author successfully moves the opening tone from spooky and ominous to a tone of horror and suspense. The tone remains that way until the final sentences of the story when Rainsford finally kills Zaroff. That's when Rainsford's nightmare is finally over.
The tone of a story is the attitude of narrator and is usually expressed as positive, negative, and neutral. The tone of this story would be negative because the story is about a cruel game where people hunt people. Tone is often confused with mood which is the feeling the read feels as they read the story.
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