silhouette of a man with one eye open hiding in the jungle

The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell

Start Free Trial

Could you clarify the events in the first three pages of Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The short story is about rights. Rainsford is a big game hunter who is well known for his hunting abilities. However, he considers the animals he hunts to be unfeeling creatures that can't really suffer emotionally. All that is challenged when he falls off the boat he is traveling on and finds himself stranded on an island that sailors call Ship Trap Island. Once on the island he discovers a large castle inhabited by General Zaroff and his servant Ivan. Zaroff is an avid hunter too, but he has become bored with hunting because the animals no longer offer a challenge. To avoid this boredom, he has found an animal that overcome that boredom. That animal is humans. He challenges the shocked Rainsford to a hunt with Zaroff as the hunter and Rainsford as the hunted. If Rainsford can avoid being killed for three days, he is allowed to go free. During the hunt, Rainsford gets the feeling that Zaroff is just playing with him. On the last day, he realizes that Zaroff will never let him leave the island alive. He fakes his own suicide by jumping off a cliff into the ocean. He then climbs the wall to Zaroff's bedroom. When Zaroff enters the room Rainsford challenges him and wins, killing Zaroff.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the beginning of the story Sanger Rainsford, world famous hunter, is on a hunting expedition with a close friend. They are on a boat traveling in the Caribbean. Rainsford engages his companion in a conversation about the sport of hunting. This is a very revealing conversation because Rainsford discusses his disregard for the feelings of the animals he hunts.

Shortly after the discussion, Rainsford falls overboard and ends up swimming to safety on the shore of an unknown island and passes out. He eventually wakes up and hears what sounds like a hunt going on in the distance. He begins to investigate the sounds and finds a trail of footsteps that leads up to a dark and looming mansion. The front door opens and Ivan, a giant Kassock (Russian soldier), stand there, threatening Rainsford with a gun. General Zarroff comes downstairs and calls off Ivan.

After a lot of clever discussion, Rainsford learns that General Zarroff has intentionally brought Rainsford to the Island in order to force him to play a game—Zarroff, bored with animal prey and finding it too easy to hunt, want to hunt Rainsford himself, whom he views as a formidable opponent. The deal is that if Rainsford can survive three days of the hunt, then he will be set free. Rainsford not only survives, but in the end he kills both Ivan and Zarroff. Rainsford finishes out his last night on the island sleeping comfortable in the bed of the late General Zarroff.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial