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 is your reaction to Zaroff's statement, "We try to be civilized here"?

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This statement, which comes while Zaroff and Rainsford are having dinner in the general's chateau, should be considered highly ironic. Even though Zaroff's island is in a remote area off the coast of South America, he prides himself on procuring the finest food and drink, including Russian soup and the best champagne. Zaroff is also, as Rainsford labels him, quite the "cosmopolite." His clothes are made by a premier London tailor, and his reading material includes the works of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (much of Aurelius's work had to do with ethics). During the conversation, Zaroff reveals to Rainsford that he has invented a new type of hunting. He actually hunts the men who shipwreck on the island. This gruesome practice clashes with his seemingly civilized and cultured demeanor. In reality, Zaroff is a sociopathic murderer and is far from civilized. As expected, Rainsford reacts negatively to the general's disclosure:

"I have electricity. We try to be civilized here."

"Civilized? And you shoot down men?"

Although the general attempts to argue that it is his right to hunt men, Rainsford is repulsed and ultimately becomes Zaroff's prey in "The Most Dangerous Game."

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