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“The Most Dangerous Game”. By Richard Connell . Initial Setting (PAGE 1 &2). Caribbean Sea THEN…Ship Trap Island The reputation of the island “Sailors have a curious dread of the place.” According to Captain Nielsen: “This place has an evil name among sea-faring men.” Cannibals…yummy!

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initial setting page 1 2
Initial Setting (PAGE 1 &2)
  • Caribbean Sea
  • THEN…Ship Trap Island
    • The reputation of the island
      • “Sailors have a curious dread of the place.”
      • According to Captain Nielsen: “This place has an evil name among sea-faring men.”
      • Cannibals…yummy!
      • “Poisonous Air”
      • No breeze—calm
        • “The sea was as flat as a plate glass window.”
setting mood
Setting - Mood
  • The setting is ambiguous—an isolated island
    • essential to the plot but not adequately explained
    • Not knowing = SUSPENSE!
  • The date is uncertain, but the story spans 4 days
  • Hostile and friendly
  • It is both natural—the island
  • and man-made– the mansion of General Z.
  • Protagonist – Rainsford (Pg 1)
    • Clearly an accomplished hunter;
    • feels the world is made up of 2 classes,
      • “the hunters and the huntees.”
  • Whitney
    • A fellow hunter of Rainsford’s
      • We NEVER here of him again
  • Rainsford (page 1)
    • Not empathetic
      • EXAMPLE—He and Whitney are discussing the sport of hunting
        • It gets philosophical when Whitney says that hunting is the greatest sport for the hunter but, “Not for the jaguar.”
          • Rainsford answers back, “Who cares how a jaguar feels…They’ve no understanding.”
  • Whitney (pg 1-2)
    • What is his purpose?
      • A fellow hunter of Rainsford’s
      • Provides contrast to Rainsford—psych of hunting
  • R. hears 3 gun shots (page 3)
  • Hard to see— “like trying to see through a blanket= simile
      • Also– adds to mood
  • Rainsford falls off the boat reaching for his pipe.

Rainsford has had a rough time getting to shore safely.

    • Great description using figurative language his attempt to master the troublesome sea. (page 3)
    • “What perils that tangle of trees and underbrush might hold for him did not concern Rainsford just then. All he knew was that he was safe from his enemy, the sea.”
      • Rainsford wrongly perceives the sea as his enemy.
  • Page 4
    • Proof that Rainsford is an AWESOME hunter!
      • The narrator uses indirect charaterization by noting R’s actions—tracking the person who fired the gun
      • THINK ABOUT IT---this adds credibility to Rainsford’s cunning “smarts” to his LATER tactics when HE is the HUNTEE!
setting so far
Setting…so far
  • 1- Boat
  • Ocean
  • Jungle
  • Now… magnificent mansion (page 5)
new character
New Character
  • Ivan
    • “In his hand the man held a long-barreled revolver, and he was pointing it straight at Rainsford’s heart.”
    • Is a stereotypical character; he is a big, dumb, goon whose job is to kill unwanted visitors/trespassers
    • Ivan is flat and static
  • General Zaroff (page 5)
    • A well-read hunter who recognizes Rainsford’s name as the author of a book about hunting snow leopards
    • Interesting character: as we read, we’ll find him to be static, yet round
      • Zaroff seems to have refined tastes, is very intelligent, and is quite hospitable to his guest.
would you have dinner with me
Would You Have Dinner With ME?
  • Zaroff claims to have stocked his island with the biggest game possible (page 6)
  • Rainsfordis intrigued and wants to know to which type of game Zaroff is referring.

Zaroff begins relating his stories of hunting (page 10) experiences and says…

    • “Hunting was beginning to bore me!”
    • “It had become too easy. I always got my quarry. Always.”
  • Zaroffneeded to invent a new animal
    • “It must have courage, cunning, and above all, it must be able to reason.”
  • Rainsford finally understands what Zaroff is getting at…
    • “Hunting? General Zaroff, what you speak of is murder.”
now we see why it s called ship trap island page 11
NOW, we see why it’s called “Ship Trap Island” (page 11)
  • Zaroff pushes a button from inside the chateau, which turns on lights indicating a safe channel for approaching boats.
  • In reality the channel is filled with jagged rocks, which destroy the boats.
  • The sailors are forced to swim to shore and become Zaroff’s prey.
rules to the game
Rules to the Game
  • His “guests” receive:
    • A supply of food
    • An excellent hunting knife
    • A 3 hour start
    • If the quarry avoids Zaroff for 3 days, the quarry is the winner
      • Zaroff claims he has never lost
    • Those who refuse to hunt get turned over to Ivan
after a good night sleep not
After a good night sleep…NOT
  • The next day, Rainsford informs Zaroff that he’d like to leave the island.
    • Rainsford must be hunted before he may leave the island; Zaroff assures him that if Rainsford wins, he will be taken to the mainland.
      • Do you believe this?
      • “Your Brain against mine.” (page 13)
hunt begins
Hunt Begins
  • Rainsford gets through the first night without seeing Zaroff
  • As he hides in a tree, Zaroff stands at the bottom.
    • Clearly Zaroff knows Rainsford is there.
      • Why doesn’t Zaroff go after Rainsford at this point?
each of the 3 traps set by r
Each of the 3 traps set by R.
  • Trap #1 – Malay Mancatcher (page 15)
    • A dead tree is resting on a living one; a bough is used as a trigger; once disturbed, the dead tree falls hitting Zaroff on the shoulder.
  • Trap #2 – Burmese Tiger Pit (page 16-17)
    • Sharpened stakes are arranged at the bottom of a pit; the mouth of the pit is covered with weeds and twigs; claims one of Zaroff’s dogs.
  • Trap #3 – Ugandan Knife Trap (page 18)
    • Rainsford tied his knife to a springing sapling; the sapling is tied back with a grapevine; kills Ivan.
bring out the dogs
Bring out the dogs!
  • Rainsford has no choice but to jump into the sea. (page 17)
  • Zaroff returns to his chateau and enjoys his dinner; however, Zaroff is disappointed.
    • Ivan would be hard to replace
    • Rainsford had escaped him
  • Zaroff heads to bed and finds Rainsford hiding in the bed curtains.
final confrontation
Final Confrontation
  • “One of us is to furnish repast for the hounds. The other will sleep in this very excellent bed. On guard, Rainsford…”
    • The reader must imagine what this fight was like.
  • The reader can be sure that Rainsford is victorious.
    • “He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided.”


    • Third person limited point of view
  • Figurative Language/Metaphor
    • Darkness = Symbol
      • Look in the text for references to the natural darkness outside and the inner darkness of human cruelty and evil
  • Animal or human traits of the sea
    • “muttering”
    • “growling”
  • Animal lust of the land
    • “licked its greedy lips”
    • “unbroken front of snarled and ragged jungle”