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The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell

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What does the word "game" mean in "The Most Dangerous Game" and how does it affect the story?

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In the story The Most Dangerous Game, the word game has several meanings.  When the big hunter Rainsford lands on the island, he is assuming the word game means the big animals he has always hunted.  The discussion with his host shows the reader the attitude of both men toward the game of following prey and outwitting the prey in order to kill it.  The trophies they take show how successful the hunters are in tracking and killing a trophy animal.  It is only when Rainsford realizes that this time, he is the trophy animal being hunted, that the true meaning of the term "most dangerous game" becomes clear because he can think and plan.  This factor makes him more dangerous to the hunter which is what his host is looking for--the thrill of a hunt where the target can think.  The reader now realizes  the horror where a human being hunts other human beings just for the thrill of it.

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