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The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell

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What are some similarities and differences between Sanger Rainsford and General Zaroff?

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Rainsford is an American World War I vet who is known for his good hunting skills, experience, and writing on the subject. General Zaroff calls himself a Cossack, which is a group from the Ukraine who are famous for their fierceness in battle. Cossacks apparently used to serve Russian czars. These two act as foils for each other in "The Most Dangerous Game." (A foil is a character who highlights another character's qualities by contrasting with them.) Hence, these characters have much in common because they both appreciate and study hunting wild beasts. They differ greatly, however, on the direction that their lives have taken when they meet. For example, General Zaroff thinks it is perfectly ethical to hunt humans for sport.

"I wanted the ideal animal to hunt . . . So I said: 'What are the attributes of the ideal quarry?' And the answer was, of course: 'It must have courage, cunning, and, above all, it must be able to reason.'"

So wit is pitted against wit; skill against skill; man against man.For a thesis statement for an essay that compares and contrasts these men, mentioning foil characters is one idea. Another good idea for a thesis statement would be to address the conflict of man vs. man.

Examples of Thesis Statements:

1. Rainsford and Zaroff are perfect foil characters for each other because they both hunt wild animals and have been trained as soldiers.

2. The conflict between Rainsford and Zaroff is the perfect example of man vs. man because they are both trained soldiers, skilled at hunting wild animals, and keenly intellectual.

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