silhouette of a man with one eye open hiding in the jungle

The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell

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What two classes does Rainsford believe make up the world?

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The answer to this question can be found early on in the story. Rainsford and Whitney are both standing on the deck of a ship as it passes Ship-Trap Island. Their conversation quickly turns toward hunting because the men are on their way to Rio to hunt jaguars. Both men are excited at facing off against such a prey. The comment is made that hunting the jaguar will be some of the best sport in the world . . . for the hunters. Whitney clarifies his comment by saying that the hunt won't be good sport for the jaguars. They will be terrified creatures. Rainsford tells Whitney to stop talking such nonsense because it doesn't matter what the jaguars feel or don't feel. The jaguars are the prey, and they are the hunters. In Rainsford's opinion, the two classes of people are the hunters and the "huntees," and he is glad to be a hunter. However, Rainsford will soon find out what it feels like to be the huntee.

"Nonsense," laughed Rainsford. "This hot weather is making you soft, Whitney. Be a realist. The world is made up of two classes--the hunters and the huntees. Luckily, you and I are hunters."

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Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game" characterizes the two most profound and historical classes of beings: the hunters and the huntees. Playing upon the traditional scientific ideologies, the story illustrates the idea behind the survival of the fittest.

Both General Zaroff and Rainsford are skilled hunters. Zaroff has "created" a new prey (humans), and Rainsford questions the morality of the hunting of human beings. Either way, Rainsford's opening conversation with Whitney, a fellow hunter on the ship, illustrates that the addition of a new prey changes nothing--two classes still exist: the hunter and the hunted (or huntee as Rainsford calls them). During this conversation, Rainsford dismisses the feelings of a hunted animal (the jaguar to be specific). As the predominant being, Rainsford refuses to accept that the hunted has feelings. When the tables turn though, and Rainsford becomes the hunted, things take on a completely different meaning for him.

Regardless of Rainsford's change of heart, one thing does not change: the world still contains to classes--the hunters and the huntees.

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