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

The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell

Start Free Trial

What do you admire or dislike about Rainsford in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Quick answer:

I don't admire Rainsford because he is a cold-blooded killer and I don't identify with him.

Expert Answers

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

When Rainsford first appears in the story I dislike his cold-blooded attitude about killing animals. I realize there are people like this, people who enjoy killing living things and considering it good fun. Ernest Hemingway enjoyed killing animals, birds, and fish and despised people who didn't. Theodore Roosevelt was another...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

such "sportsman." To people like myself it doesn't seem sportsmanlike to kill an animal from a distance with a high-powered rifle. The contest is unequal. I only began to sympathize with Rainsford when he became the hunted animal himself, but I never really liked him. Characters infiction always have problems because readers identify with them on the basis of their problems and not on the basis of their personalities. Another good example is the protagonist of Jack London's "To Build a Fire." There is nothing likable about this brutal man, but we identify with him because he has a problem of staying alive. Fiction is full of problems because that is the way to get reader involvement. The easiest way to analyze a story is to ask who wants what and why can't he or she get it. In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is just a lost child who only wants to get home.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
I admire Rainsford for maintaining his principles. He might have thought Zarroff was crazy and decided to play along and hunt the captives. Instead he protested. You could even argue that he was saving the lives of future captives by killing Zarroff. However I do think that Rainsford killed him in revenge for making him play the game.
Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I am not at all impressed with Rainsford in the first few pages of "The Most Dangerous Game." He is pompous and arrogant, clearly believing he is a superior sort of human being. However, he soon has to face his own mortality when General Zaroff hints him. I appreciate his resourcefulness and his bravery in the face of mortal danger.

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

I am not at all impressed with Rainsford in the first few pages of "The Most Dangerous Game." He is pompous and arrogant, clearly believing he is a superior sort of human being. However, he soon has to face his own mortality when General Zaroff hints him. I appreciate his resourcefulness and his bravery in the face of mortal danger.

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

"The Most Dangerous Game" is a Darwinian short story, with the survival of the fittest as a clear and strong motif.  As the survivor against the cruel and sadistic General Zaroff, Rainsford is extremely impressive.  In addition, he has learned to understand the beasts of prey as he himself has been made into one.  So, perhaps he will sympathize with the animals that he hunts.

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

Especially as a young person, I really admired Rainsford's bravery and toughness.  I was growing up in a society that very much valued a macho vision of what a man was and so I wanted to be like that.  I admired how he could hold himself together and be brave in the face of death.  At that point, I never disliked anything about him.

Nowadays, I have to admit I still don't dislike much of anything about him.  I can't get too worked up about him not caring about jaguars' feelings since I've hunted too.  I do question whether he might become the next Zaroff and start hunting people, but I'm not sure enough of that to dislike him.

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

This might be moved to the Discussion Board, as many editors will have answers for you based on a variety of Rainsford's character traits.

I admire Rainsford's resourcefulness. He seems able to use just a few features of the forest to be able to create traps for Zaroff or his dogs three times. He also used his knowledge of hunting to create a difficult trail to follow.

On the other hand, every time I read this story I get mad at him in the first few paragraphs. He is so cocky, so overconfident. He and Whitney's discussion of the jaguar prove this. He doesn't care for the feelings of the jaguar and this ends up being the irony of the story as he feels what it is like to be hunted.

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

An admirable trait of Rainsford's is his perseverance.  He does not give up during any of the challenges with which he is faced.  When Rainsford falls into the ocean, he swims until he reaches shore, despite the fact that fatigue threatens to overwhelm him.  After General Zaroff informs him of his delight in hunting humans, Rainsford refuses to accept this idea and is forced to play the role of the hunted for his doing so.  Persistence and determination, in addition to his skills as an outdoorsman and his inate cleverness, enable Rainsford to ultimately defeat General Zaroff.  Had Rainsford possessed any less perseverance, he probably would have died either from drowning or at Zaroff's hands.

In the beginning of the story, Rainsford shows a certain degree of cockiness and hardheartedness.  This is evident in his obvious lack of sympathy for or consideration of the feelings of his prey.  It is not necessary that hunters be unfeeling or kill casually.

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

Sanger Rainsford, the main character in Richard Connell's short story "The Most Dangerous Game," is a world class hunter who falls off his yacht and swims ashore on Ship-Trap Island. Rainsford is resourceful, cunning and physically imposing. He is intelligent, well-read and worldly, since he recognizes many of the fine accoutrements in Zaroff's home. He enjoys a good meal, a fine wine and a comfortable bed. He keeps his head even under the most trying conditions, and he has nerve enough for many men.

The fact that he is a skillful hunter may not necessarily be a positive trait, especially to animal rights activists. But unlike Zaroff, hunting animals satisfy him--at least until the end of the story when his desire for revenge overwhelms him.

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

What do you admire or dislike about Rainsford?

While Rainsford may be foolish to go so near the side of the boat (an event that causes his fall into the water and eventual capture by Zaroff), there are quite a number of things about Rainsford in Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game" that make this world-renowned hunter admirable.

Perhaps what I admire most is that even though Rainsford loves to hunt, he has no desire to compromise his moral code by hunting humans. Even though he is on an island under circumstances that would never allow anyone to know if he were to join Zaroff, it never occurs to him. His integrity is not governed by whether or not someone is watching, but by his unshakable sense of what he knows to be right.

“Tonight,” said the general, “we will hunt—you and I.”

Rainsford shook his head. “No, general,” he said. “I will not hunt.”

Another thing that I admire about Rainsford is his ability to think creatively even while running for his life. While running, he is able to come up with unusual methods not only to protect himself (like climbing the tree), he also adopts methods of defense to remove threats against him (such as Ivan) and engages in unique offensive tactics.

“Rainsford,” called the general, “if you are within sound of my voice, as I suppose you are, let me congratulate you. Not many men know how to make a Malay mancatcher."

Finally, though Rainsford initially experiences a moment of panic, he is able to work past it to do whatever he can to protect himself and survive.

Ironically, while Zaroff looks to find the "most dangerous game" in capturing and hunting unfortunate sailors, Rainsford's abilities to adapt and strategize make him the most dangerous game.

Last Updated on