In the story "The Most Dangerous Game," why has Zaroff chosen an island for his sport?

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shake99 | Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game” is the story of a man named Zaroff who hunts human beings on his island.

The character of Zaroff is an avid and accomplished hunter. He lives for the thrill of the hunt, but he has become so adept at it that he needs a new quarry that can challenge him. So he decides to hunt humans because they have the power to reason.

Here is his rationale for using the island:

So I bought this island, built this house, and here I do my hunting. The island is perfect for my purposes—there are jungles with a maze of trails in them, hills, swamps—

The trails and hills and swamps give the human prey something to use in their attempts to escape him, thereby creating more of a challenge for Zaroff.

Additionally, Zaroff needs a remote location for several reasons. One, he needs a place that is out of the way and relatively inaccessible so that he can hunt human beings without detection. Second, he actually uses the features of the island to lure boats onto the rocks off the coast—this is how he captures the humans that he will use as his game.

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The island helps to put a "frame" around the story. Without it, the prey could run for many miles in a straight path. In another way of putting it, every "game" needs boundaries--e.g., baseball, football, tennis, basketball. Furthermore, the island is surrounded by shark-infested waters, so the prey would be discouraged from trying to escape by swimming. They might not be able to swim away from the island to safety, but they could stay out in the ocean for a few hours to elude the pursuers. The French penal colony Devil's Island was escape-proof because it was surrounded by similar shark-infested waters. This former penal colony was wonderfully portrayed in the movie Papillon, starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, and the infamous Devil's Island may have given Richard Connell, the author of "The Most Dangerous Game," the idea for Zaroff's Island. The movie was based on a best-selling memoir. See the first reference link below. 

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tucksama605 | eNotes Newbie

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He chose the island because it made the game more interesting and he loved to live in the wild. Also he was killing humans so he had to go to a hidden place where he could hunt in secret. 

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