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The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell

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Discussion Topic

Potential changes to the plot of "The Most Dangerous Game."

Summary:

Potential changes to the plot of "The Most Dangerous Game" could include altering the setting to a different remote location, introducing additional characters who are also being hunted, or changing the outcome of the final confrontation between Rainsford and General Zaroff. These modifications could add new dimensions to the story while retaining its core themes of survival and the hunter becoming the hunted.

Expert Answers

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What one change would you make to the plot of "The Most Dangerous Game"?

The plot for any story is the series of events that increases the intensity of the conflict until the end reveals who wins. Since the conflict is actually the struggle between opposing forces and the goal here is to change one thing about the plot of Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game," then twisting the conflict would be how to do it.

The main conflict is man vs. man: Zaroff vs. Rainsford. Two strong and experienced hunters are pitted against each other in a battle of hunting wits to the death. To change the plot, one could add another element of conflict, such as society or nature, that would add more intensity to the story. Maybe Rainsford is able to contact a local community on the island who can send police or soldiers to help take down Zaroff's island of strategic death. Or with nature, maybe a hurricane or tsunami comes to the island and Zaroff and Rainsford have to make an uncommon alliance in order to save some villagers.

Another idea might be to take an aspect between Zaroff and Rainsford that is part of the conflict and use it to change one element of the plot. For example, take the following passage quoted by Zaroff as an instrument for changing the plot:

Ah, well, doubtless you had Puritan ancestors. So many Americans appear to have had. I'll wager you'll forget your notions when you go hunting with me. You've a genuine new thrill in store for you, Mr. Rainsford.

In the story, Rainsford does forget his notion that he would never hunt down and kill a man because that's exactly what he does in the end. After feeling like an animal "at bay" for three days, Rainsford turns into a man-killer just like Zaroff in the end by killing his hunter. If, in fact, Rainsford spares Zaroff's life instead of killing him in the end, then Rainsford would win by sparing a life rather than taking one.

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How would you rewrite the ending to "The Most Dangerous Game"?

There are many ways one could go about rewriting the ending of "The Most Dangerous Game." For example, consider what would have happened if Rainsford had not survived or not faked his own death. Or, consider what would happen if the last scene with the final duel between General Zaroff and Rainsford had gone differently. In the story, when Zaroff spots Rainsford in his room, he tells him he won. But Rainsford tells him he is still "a beast," which implies that he wants to fight. In rewriting the ending, one might consider what would have happened if Rainsford had not said this and what winning would have looked like if Zaroff had lived.

In the story, Zaroff is excited at Rainsford's attitude and says to him,

One of us is to furnish a repast for the hounds. The other will sleep in this excellent bed duel and whoever wins will sleep in his 'very excellent bed.'

After the duel begins, there is an ellipsis followed by the closing line,

He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided.

This last scene implies that Zaroff and Rainsford fought to the death and that Rainsford emerged the victor. In rewriting the story, one may choose to depict the duel to show how Rainsford defeated Zaroff or perhaps choose to have Rainsford lose. One might also consider writing that one of the men was fed to the dogs to imply who won and who lost, instead of depicting the winner in the excellent bed.

For example, this new ending might include lines like the following: "The hounds had never tasted better food than the body of …”

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Write an alternate ending to the Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game."

IN the actual ending of Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game," Sanger Rainsford is successful at beating General Zaroff. Zaroff allows his "prey" three days to allude him. If his "prey" is successful, he states that the prey will be set free. To this point in Zaroff's games, he has never lost (up until his challenge with Rainsford). 

Given that Rainsford is able to beat, and kill, Zaroff in the original text, an alternative ending would reverse who the victor is. Therefore, a possible alternative ending would have Zaroff finding success over Rainsford. 

Another possible ending could extend Connell's ending. One could set Rainsford as the new hunter in Zaroff's game. In this ending, one could expand upon Rainsford's role as the new hunter, how his mindset has changed, and what his plans are for his "most dangerous game." 

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