Are there any examples of indirect characterization in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The best example of indirect characterization in the story comes right at the beginning, when Rainsford talks with his friend Whitney. The two men are on a boat, sailing to their next port of call, and talking about hunting and their personal beliefs. They agree that hunting is a great sport, but Whitney qualifies the statement:

"For the hunter," amended Whitney. "Not for the jaguar."

"Don't talk rot, Whitney," said Rainsford. "You're a big-game hunter, not a philosopher. Who cares how a jaguar feels?"

"Perhaps the jaguar does," observed Whitney.

"Bah! They've no understanding."

"Even so, I rather think they understand one thing -- fear. The fear of pain and the fear of death."
(Connell, "The Most Dangerous Game,"

With these indirect characterization statements, Whitney shows a compassionate sympathy for prey animals, even when that prey is a predator that commonly hunts other animals. Rainsford does not yet have the same understanding, but Whitney feels somewhat sorry for an animal that is forced to feel fear for no reason other than a hunter's enjoyment. Whitney is more morally complex than Rainsford, and more in touch with his feelings. Whitney understands that hunting is a selfish endeavor, pursued entirely for the hunter, and so is not entirely moral, depending on one's view towards animals. When Rainsford falls off the boat, Whitney continues on and is not seen again in the story.

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The Most Dangerous Game

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