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The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell

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What is Rainsford's view on hunting before reaching the island in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

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Rainsford describes hunting as “the best sport in the world.” When his partner, Whitney, remarks that it isn’t so great for the jaguar, to use an example of prey, Rainsford scolds him, telling Whitney not to “talk rot.” This indicates that Rainsford thinks any opinion that even slightly derides hunting is an invalid one.

In fact, Rainsford says he doesn’t care about how prey must feel, because he sees any species that can be hunted as inferior to himself. He sees animals as nothing more than something he can hunt and kill, and he doesn’t see why anyone would think otherwise.

This, of course, becomes ironic because Rainsford finds himself on the other end of the hunter–hunted relationship he describes at the beginning of the story. In this regard, it’s almost like Rainsford deserves what happens to him in order to learn an important lesson about the value of life.

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Early -- very early -- in Richard Edward Connell's short story The Most Dangerous Game, there is an exchange between the story's protagonist, Sanger Rainsford, and his hunting partner, Whitney, regarding their upcoming adventure in the jungles of the Amazon. In this exchange, Rainsford's attitude toward hunting is made very clear:

Whitney: We should have some good hunting up the Amazon. Great sport, hunting.

Rainsford: The best sport in the world.

Whitney: For the hunter. Not for the jaguar.

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

Sanger Rainsford's attitude toward hunting is as positive as an attitude can get. He lives for hunting; it defines him. That is the purpose of his travels to exotic locales like the Amazon, and, his passion for hunting is key to Connell's plot, which revolves around General Zaroff's ability to 'turn the tables' on his unsuspecting victim. It is through the psychotic general's "game" that Rainsford is, for the first time, allowed to experience his own favorite past-time through the eyes of the hunted rather than the hunter. The above passage illuminates Rainsford's cavalier attitude towards other species. For him, animals exist only for his entertainment. Now that he has been forced to assume the role of animal, he can understand the moral dimension of hunting a little better.

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At the beginning of Richard Connell's short story, "The Most Dangerous Game," Rainsford and Whitney discuss the differences between the hunter and the prey. Rainsford states that hunting is the greatest sport in the world. Whitney agrees, but adds, "for the hunter... Not for the jaguar." Rainsford claims that animals have no feelings nor understanding, but Whitney disagrees, saying that they must

"... understand one thing--fear. The fear of pain and the fear of death."

Rainsford laughs at his friend's suggestion, assuring him that

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

Rainsford, of course, was right about their lucky nature as humans and the ability to handle a rifle, but he had not considered the possibility of their positions being reversed--or of another type of prey being hunted. He will soon come to learn that the hunted can indeed have understanding, and feel the fear of pain and the fear of death.

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What is Rainsford's position on hunting before arriving on the island?

In the opening of "The Most Dangerous Game," Rainsford and Whitney are having a conversation about hunting. Whitney remarks, "great sport, hunting," and Rainsford agrees, saying, "best sport in the world." As the conversation goes on, Rainsford states that animals have no feelings, or if they do, no one cares about them. Rainsford is a big game hunter of international renown and tells Whitney that there are really only two kinds of creatures in the world: the hunters and the hunted.

Later, when Rainsford meets General Zaroff, the Cossack immediately recognizes Rainsford as "the celebrated hunter" and tells him that he enjoyed the book he wrote about hunting snow leopards in Tibet. When the two men sit together at dinner, Rainsford admires the mounted heads that decorate Zaroff's home, particularly a sizable Cape buffalo. As Zaroff confides to Rainsford that he has stocked his island with the most dangerous game of all, Rainsford is fascinated—until he learns that it is humans that Zaroff hunts.

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Before arriving at the island, what is Rainsford's position on hunting?

In the exposition of the story, Rainsford asks Whitney what the best game is, to which Whitney replies, "hunting...for the hunter, not the jaguar."  Rainsford says, "Don't talk rot Whitney.  You're a big game hunter, not a philosopher, who cares what the jaguar feels!"

Rainsford is alpha-male here.  He shows no empathy toward his prey.  He has not been desensitized in the way modern males have to the feelings of animals.  In those days, and in that part of the world, there were few zoos, no animals rights organizations, no dog and cat-lovers culture.

As a note, this scene is parodied in The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror XVI in which Lisa exclaims, "Hunting is cruel!"  Homer replies, "Lisa, animals don't feel death.  That was proven by the scientists at Black Angus!"  Then, Bart chimes in, "No fair!  Dad gets to kill wild animals..."

So, it seems there's been a shift in how we view the feelings of animals.  Historically, even biblically, man has been a big game hunter, trusting his instincts, free to exert dominion over the animal kingdom.  But lately, there's been some apologies made.  Males in particular have been made for feel guilty for hunting, but not eating (yet!) animals.  Now, our meat is butchered and pre-packaged.  Our mercies, as Ian McEwan would say, are selective.  We still eat animals, but we don't want to watch them die.  In his novel Saturday, McEwan says his protagonist would never throw a lobster into a boiling pot, but he would never refuse a lobster dinner.  Such equivocation is unsettling, even hypocritical.

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Before arriving at the island, what is Rainsford’s position on hunting in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

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Before arriving at the island, what is Rainsford’s position on hunting in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

This question was previously answered, but if you look at the first page of the story, the author uses Rainsford's words to illustrate his position on hunting. When discussing hunting with his travel partner, he describes hunting as "The best sport in the world. "   When Whitney (his travel partner) distinguishes and says it is great the hunter, Rainsford replies wih "You're a big-game hunter, not a philosopher.  Who cares how a jaguar feels?... They've no understanding.... The world is made up of two classes - the hunters and the hunted. Luckily, you and I are the hunters."  These selected passages from the first page demonstrate to the reader how Rainsford thinks highly of his sport and does not care what his prey may feel.

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What is Rainsford's position on hunting (from Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game)?

Sanger Rainsford, the protagonist of Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game," has two very different positions on hunting depending upon if one were to examine his position prior to him being trapped upon Zaroff's island or after. Prior to ending upon Zaroff's island, while on the ship having a conversation with Whitney, Rainsford possesses no sympathy for the prey. In fact, he fails to care how the prey (in this case, a jaguar) feels. Although he does state that only two classes exist in the world, "the hunter and the huntees," he believes himself to be a hunter (and lucky to be one).

After arriving upon Zaroff's island, Rainsford's point of view changes. Now, no longer the hunter, Rainsford understands what it feels like to be hunted (or the prey).  Rainsford comes to feel for the "huntee," now that he is one. Although he is able defeat Zaroff, and become the hunter again, one can assume that Rainsford will never discredit the feelings of the prey ever again. 

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Before arriving at the island, what is Rainford's position on hunting in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Sanger Rainsford is one of the world's most renowned big game hunters in "The Most Dangerous Game." He is the author of at least one book, as Zaroff points out when they first meet.

"I've read your book about hunting snow leopards in Tibet, you see," explained the man.

Rainsford and his friend, Whitney, both agree that hunting is "The best sport in the world." But Whitney adds,

"For the hunter... Not for the jaguar."

Whitney, who is also an experienced hunter, shows some sympathy for the animal, claiming that the hunted beast must recognize its position in the game. 

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

Rainsford disagrees. He claims that animals have no understanding, and that it does not matter how, or if, an animal feels fear or pain. Animals, being weaker than man, are only meant to be the "huntee," the prey for the hunter.

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Before arriving at the island, what is Rainsford's position on hunting in "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell?

"The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell begins on a yacht. The ship is sailing through the Caribbean on its way to Rio de Janeiro where Sanger Rainsford plans to hunt jaguar in the Amazon. 

Rainsford and Whitney, the ship's captain, have a short philosophical discussion about hunting. Whitney believes hunting is a "great sport," but only for the hunter. Rainsford thinks Whitney is being a bit soft-hearted, and he tells the captain he should not "talk rot." Though Rainsford does not care in the least about how the jaguar feels about being hunted, Whitney believes that the jaguar certainly understands two fears, the fear of pain and death. 

"Nonsense," laughed Rainsford. "This hot weather is making you soft, Whitney. Be a realist. The world is made up of two classes--the hunters and the huntees. Luckily, you and I are hunters."

By the next evening, Rainsford's strong position on this subject will waver; for now, however, he feels quite certain that there are only these two categories in life. 

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