What will a reder learn by reading The Most Dangerous Game?What will a reader learn by reading The Most Dangerous Game?

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A truth that a reader learns from reading "A Most Dangerous Game" is that so often people believe that they hold certain convictions and stauchly defend them for years.  But, when their lives or livelihoods are threatened if they continue to defend these convictions, these people change their convictions all too quickly.

How often do people say, "Oh, I would never do that!" or "I could never condone..." as Rainsford tells Zaroff. But, when their jobs or their lives are threatened, with what alacrity do they change their minds just as Rainsford changed his!

It takes a truly great and strong person to be like Sir Thomas Moore, who was willing to die rather than change his principles.  Rainsford was not such a man.  A man who had long been under the employ of Bill Clinton was asked if there were any conviction that Clinton held strongly enough that he would be willing to die for it.  The man pondered for but a brief minute:  "No," he simply replied.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I liked the previous post's idea of the mutability of people's convictions. This is something that can be gained from the story.  Another idea is to always understand that the belief in our superiority can prove to be disastrous.  Rainsford believes himself to be the greatest hunter, superior to all others.  In an odd sort of karmic alignment, this is proven when he becomes hunted by Zardoff.  At that moment, I am confident that Rainsford understood that his own sense of success and previous belief of self was a bit inaccurate.  I am reminded of a line from Bob Fosse:  "There will always be someone better than you, richer than you, and drives a better car than you."  Somehow, this has a way of humbling us and perhaps one of the lessons of this is to gain some humility.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with ask996's point.  It's just so easy to stereotype people into "us" and "them"--in this case the hunters and the huntees.  Rainsford is pretty ruthless when he dismisses any feelings the huntees might have and pretty quick to say it's a good thing they (he and Whitney) are the hunters.  Soon, though, Rainsford's predicament blurs that line--is he the hunted or the hunter?  The answer is both, of course, and the stereotypes are destroyed.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Another thing people will learn from reading "The Most Dangerous Game" is how easy we dismiss alternate perspectives without ever stopping to consider them. Remember how Rainsford didn't think animals had feelings and emotions? Whitney tried explaining this to him, but he scoffed at Whitney. However, when Rainsford was subjected to this very same opinion as Zaroff explained why he hunted humans, Rainsford had a different opinion.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I think readers learn about themselves, from their reaction to the story. They might find themselves questioning what they have believed about hunting, for example. Or you might find yourself wondering if there is anything to Zarroff's argument thar human life really has no value.
epollock | Student


Richad Edward Connell's short story “The Most Dangerous Game” is very memorable. In this story, a man named Rainsford lands on an island where another man, General Zaroff, in order to find the most challenging prey, hunts Rainsford like an animal. In the end, Rainsford wins and kills the other man.

The fact that humans are hunting other humans makes this story really memorable. We are used to the idea that humans might hunt animals, even if we don’t like it. But the idea of humans hunting other humans seems unnatural and horrifying.

The theme is if you treat a person like an animal, he or she will begin to act like one.

This story is used to explain plot, the pattern of events, circumstances, and situations that happen in a story. Rainsford, the protagonist, or main character struggles to overcome obstacles, conflict. He initially falls from a yacht and overcomes the sea. He is then hunted by Zaroff, the antagonist, and overcomes the life-or-death struggle and wins.

Suspense, our feeling that makes us continue to read is heightened and built by various events such as the island being described as "Ship-Trap Island" and Gneral Zaroff mentioning to Rainsford during dinner that Zaroff has a "new game."

The climax, the highest point of tension in the story, occurs in the very last line: "He had never slept in a better bed."

New vocabulary words can also be taught such as appointments, indolently, tangible, and ennui.

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The Most Dangerous Game

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