Write a well developed paragraph discussing the characterization of Rainsford and General Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game." Which one is more fully characterized? Use quotes to explain.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Author Richard Connell strongly develops both of his main characters in "The Most Dangerous Game." General Zaroff is drawn in more depth, mostly through the direct characterization presented through his own narrative about his past history during his dinner discussion with Rainsford. Zaroff tells Rainsford his whole life's history over cocktails: We find that Zaroff is the son of a wealthy landowner in the Crimea; that he was a cavalryman in the service of the Czar; that he had been hunting avidly since he was a child; and that he was forced to flee Russian following the revolution. The narrator describes Zaroff's physical characteristics, and Rainsford imbellishes them through his own descriptions.

Rainsford's first impression was that the man was singularly handsome; his second was that there was an original, almost bizarre quality about the general's face. He was a tall man past middle age, for his hair was a vivid white; but his thick eyebrows and pointed military mustache were as black as the night from which Rainsford had come. His eyes, too, were black and very bright. He had high cheekbones, a sharpcut nose, a spare, dark face--the face of a man used to giving orders, the face of an aristocrat. 

Rainsford is developed more through indirect characterization; the reader learns about his inner strength and physical prowess through his own thoughts and actions. Zaroff also gives us information about Rainsford: We discover that he has written a book on hunting and that he lives in New York. But Rainsford is more fully developed during the hunt--both psychologically and physically.

He had not been entirely clearheaded when the chateau gates snapped shut behind him. His whole idea at first was to put distance between himself and General Zaroff; and, to this end, he had plunged along, spurred on by the sharp rowers of something very like panic. Now he had got a grip on himself, had stopped, and was taking stock of himself and the situation. He saw that straight flight was futile; inevitably it would bring him face to face with the sea. He was in a picture with a frame of water, and his operations, clearly, must take place within that frame.

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