The most dangerous game is an epic short story published by Richard Conrad in 1924. Conrad was a game hunter and enjoyed his hunting in African and South American jungles. Many of his writings revolved around the life in the jungles for explorers. The short story, like many of his other literary works, assumes the setup of the jungles. The main character is Sanger Rainsford who is on a hunting mission with his friend Whitney in Rio de Janeiro. In their mission to hunt for the jaguar, they discuss of how they are the hunters and not the hunted. When they get to an island famous for shipwrecks, they hear gunshots and Rainsford goes to check what it was. He tumbles and falls into the water and realizes that he cannot swim. He finds shelter in the island with General Zaroff and his assistant Ivan. He learns that his role in the jungle had changed and he would become the hunted escaping General Zaroff who would kill him when if he got him. Conrad uses different means to inspire a captivating theme of the Hunter vs. the Hunted or reason vs. Instinct.
The relationship between Rainsford and his hunter Zaroff, reveals that reason is not a common feature of all mankind. Rainsord is the voice of reason and wants to relate well with his ally Zaroff. Zaroff had become bored by the activity of hunting animals and had decided to find a more captivating activity. He would set traps for ships to wreck in his island then force the sailors to become his prey as he gave them three hours head start before following them and killing them. He found it thrilling activity to kill the sailors that could not survive in the jungle. In a twisted fate Rainsford finds himself in such a situation he turns into the hunted; his reason and negotiation skills can no longer help him he has to find a way of surviving the jungle by all means. As they were discussing in the ship with his friend Whitney, he had become the prey; with an instinctive sense of fear that motivated his every action.
Rainsford cannot hide for long in the jungle; his first two are disastrous and he is caught hiding in a tree. The hunt was too easy for Zaroff and did not give him the thrill he desired as he hunted for him. He therefore decides to give him a second chance of survival. Rainford discovers that he was never meant to be the prey and unless he fought back he would never leave the island alive. He begins to set traps that would help him capture his hunters and save his life. Initially he sets a Malay-man-catcher withheld to a trigger to kill Zaroff but only manages to hurt his shoulder. Zaroff returns to his camp giving him time to set his next trap. He sets the Burmese tiger pit, which kills one of Zaroffs dogs. He them sets a native Ugandan knife trap that kills Zaroffs assistant Ivan. Zaroff survives and is almost about to kill him. He jumps over a cliff into the ocean creating a scene that he had committed suicide. Zaroff is disappointed that he never had the opportunity to kill his prey.
Rainsford swims around the island and gets back to the house where Zaroff lived. When Zaroff returns he is shocked to find him there. He quits being the animal and lets his voice of reason take place. He congratulates Rainsford for winning the challenge. Rainsford cannot take reason from a animal he then decides that they would use their instinctive nature to resolve their issue by fighting to the death. Rainford kills Zaroff and sleeps in his comfortable bed. At last the prey and become the predator using the instinctive nature.
Connell, Richard E. The Most Dangerous Game. Mankato: Creative Education, 1990. Print.
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