What do you think would happen in "The Most Dangerous Game," by Richard Connell, if the story were to continue?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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"The Most Dangerous Game," by Richard Connell, is set on an isolated Caribbean island which sailors have named Ship-Trap Island because so many ships have "accidentally" foundered on the rocks there. A world-class hunter, Sanger Rainsford, falls off a ship which is passing by the island and manages to reach land.

Though it is odd to find a mansion on this island, Rainsford has no real choice and knocks on the door. The owner of the house and, apparently, the island is owned by a man named General Zaroff. He is a civilized man in every way (clothes, wine, music, and more) but one--he hunts and kills humans for sport. He is aided by his mute Cossack, Ivan.

Rainsford becomes the hunted and must fight for his life. In the course of the hunt, Ivan is killed and both Zaroff and Rainsford have to use all their hunting and tracking skills. Rainsford manages to trick Zaroff into thinking he was dead but comes back to kill Zaroff. The story ends this way:

"Rainsford!" screamed the general. "How in God's name did you get here?"

"Swam," said Rainsford. "I found it quicker than walking through the jungle."

The general sucked in his breath and smiled. "I congratulate you," he said. "You have won the game."

Rainsford did not smile. "I am still a beast at bay," he said, in a low, hoarse voice. "Get ready, General Zaroff."

The general made one of his deepest bows. "I see," he said. "Splendid! One of us is to furnish a repast for the hounds. The other will sleep in this very excellent bed. On guard, Rainsford." . . .

He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided.

If you are to assume the story continues, you will have to decide one important thing: is General Zaroff is really dead? The story certainly implies that one of them will be fed to the dogs and the other will sleep in Zaroff's fine bed, and Rainsford is undeniably in the bed. The question is whether Rainsford actually killed Zaroff or just imprisoned him somewhere where he could not escape (and we know Zaroff has such a place because he routinely kept shipwrecked sailors imprisoned before he hunted them). Perhaps Rainsford will be in the mood to hunt again after he has rested.

Assuming Zaroff is alive, you have several options for a story. Perhaps Rainsford turns into a Zaroff; it is possible because he has everything he needs (except for an enforcer like Ivan). While it does not seem to be in Rainsford's character to do this, you could use Rainsford's words from the beginning of the story to create this new storyline:

"The world is made up of two classes--the hunters and the huntees. Luckily, you and I are hunters."

If you do not believe Rainsford could turn into a Zaroff-like character, then your choices are more limited. Once Zaroff is dead, Rainsford has to find a way to get off the island, which should not be too difficult as Zaroff managed to maintain some contact with the outside world. Once he leaves the island, the choices are more varied. Perhaps Rainsford tells this story to the papers and becomes a celebrity, or maybe he sees it as his mission to search other islands for such atrocities. He might continue to hunt, or his hunting days might be over after this experience. 

In any case, Rainsford is probably not the same man as he was at the beginning of the story. After killing Zaroff, Rainsford will probably either become a more rabid hunter or he will stop hunting altogether. 

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