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The Most Dangerous Game Literary Analysis

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hayley smith

on 30 September 2013

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Transcript of The Most Dangerous Game Literary Analysis

The Most Dangerous Game Literary Analysis
Key Words and Phrases
Key words and phrases are important to text because it creates a fluent understanding throughout the story line. They are the integral to perceiving the author's main literary elements and connecting to the plot, characters, or scene.
Key Words
"Ship- Trap Island" (page 1) This is a key word of the story because it carries out a suspenseful name and is one of the settings during the short story. This is important to the story because it is what gives Rainsford the superstition feeling and what drew him into the danger. It connects to the main theme because of how people can be deceived by something or someone they love, but comes back to harm you.
Key Phrases
'"The old charts call it `Ship-Trap Island,"' Whitney replied." A suggestive name, isn't it? Sailors have a curious dread of the place. I don't know why. Some superstition--"' (paragraph 3) This is important to the story because it sets the mood of the beginning and leads onto how Rainsford gets dragged into the island. Also, these words got Rainsford curious about the island and was making him ponder about what it would be like.
Literary Devices
In the beginning of the story, the author uses superstition to control the mood. "But its gotten into sailor lore, somehow. Didn't you notice that the crews nerves seemed a bit jumpy today?"(paragraph 19) He uses this to attach Rainsford more toward the island, and the readers more into the story. This contributes to the overall meaning and emotion of the short story because of the engagement Rainsford has toward something and how much uncommon interest others have to that same thing.
Literary Devices
In the middle of the story, the author uses suspense to build up foreshadow. The story contains action and rivalry to express these feelings. '"General," said Rainsford firmly, "I wish to leave this island at once."The general raised his thickets of eyebrows; he seemed hurt. "But, my dear fellow," the general protested, "you've only just come. You've had no hunting--"' Also, while Rainsford is being hunted by General Zaroff. He is guessing that the General is toying with him like a cat playing with a mouse."Rainsford did not want to believe what his reason told him was true, but the truth was as evident as the sun that had by now pushed through the morning mists. The general was playing with him! The general was saving him for another day's sport! The Cossack was the cat; he was the mouse. Then it was that Rainsford knew the full meaning of terror.
Clip of The Most Dangerous Game
Words and phrases can help connect to the main themes based on your mood towards certain words and how you interpret what the author is trying to point out. In The Most Dangerous Game, the author uses certain words or phrases to get you on the edge of your seat. He would provide specific details about events going on and create different tones and moods from one page to the next.
Literary Devices
Intertextual Connections
Intertextual Connections
The Hunger Games was a book that related to The Most Dangerous Game. They both had the man- hunting- man theme in the story, someone was always trying to kill their opponents. Also, there is a sense of suspense during both stories, mainly in the same parts. When Katniss is running away from her opponents and when Rainsford is running away from General Zaroff; both set a tone of the story that they are not going to give up and return to the happiness that they were in before. In fact, during both of the movies, the characters reach for the same hunting tool, a bow and arrow. These are used to hunt for whatever they are determine to retrieve. For Katniss is was her strong suit in hunting, and for Rainsford it was for defeating general and his hounds.
Intertextual Connections
Personal Reactions
I thought that this story was intriguing to the audience and engaging while reading. The author uses plenty of descriptive words to signify key events happening in the story. My favorite part of the story was when Rainsford surprised General Zaroff in his bedroom because it was a strange twist in the story. After he jumped off of the edge, you would expect him to swim away somewhere else, but instead he was surprisingly found and won the game. At the end of the short story, all of the suspense was let off of your shoulders, but the author left the ending somewhat closed and somewhat open, depending on what you had in mind to happen.
Why did the general just give the win to him, even if he made the promise?
Did the author base this story off of a real life problem or experience?
Why did the author make Rainsford the main character instead of Whitney?
Would the story be different if it was told in a different point of view?
What did Rainsford do with the hounds?
What would have happened if General Zaroff had won?
How would the story have been interesting with suspense?
How would the story have ended if they never began to play the "game"?
What would have happened to Rainsford if he had no useful tools to begin with?
What would the story be like if Rainsford didn't feel horror toward Zaroff?
How did General Zaroff reach the island?
Did anyone have control of the island before the General?
What did Rainsford do with the rest of the people on the island?
How would the story change if it took place somewhere else?
How would the story have changed if Rainsford hadn't known how to deceive others in time of attack?
Was the author trying to deceive the audience at the end, or was it an open ending?
If Rainsford hadn't have heard gunshots, but something else how would that effect the story?
What if Rainsford wasn't a hunter? Would the author still make him win the "game"?
Would General Zaroff still have a "game" if he wasn't a hunter?
Did the other passengers on board the boat ever wonder about where Rainsford went?
Did the General ever have a family?
How was Whitney related to Rainsford?
Where did the General retrieve all of his food supply and how did he have enough to go around?
Was that the only source of entertainment for the General?
Could you communicate with others outside of the island?
Why was color important to the story?
When does this take place?
How did Zaroff build his majestic home? Or was it already built when he got to the island?
How did General Zaroff have so many hounds?
Why did the General send the hounds or Ivan to most of his dirty work?
Personal Reactions
Personal Reactions
I thought that the text of The Most Dangerous Game had strong themes that stood out to the reader. One theme that was most noticeable by me was reason vs. instinct. This was a strong theme because it controlled how different characters reacted to different things. This was an important thing to add into the text because it explained the authors point of the story. Basically, the words were screaming out to me that you should always do what you think is right as long as you have a reason to support. That would be reason. Instinct would consist of trusting your gut to do whatever it says. For instance, you could be unsure of what to eat for a snack. You have the choice of a banana or handful of cheez-its. Obviously you know that the fruit would be a healthier decision, but you aren't exactly sure if you wanted to do this, you just chose it because it was better for you.
Contextual Information
I have discovered a theory of why Richard Connell was inspired to write The Most Dangerous Game. In fact, he was in the army during WWII, battlefields most like the main plot of the story; man hunting man to win their "game". Soldiers often move from one target to the next similar to Zaroff. He'd move from one person to the next, relieving his boredom. The General did not care about the sailors feelings or family, he would hunt one by one until they were all gone.
"Pistol Shot" (paragraph 37) This is a key word of the story because it was the main cause of Rainsford falling off of the boat, and also what got him so interested with the island. In fact, he was drawn in with what he began to think was hunting, but later found was not. This is important to the story because it shows how you need to be careful about how curious you are. This connects to the theme of the story because this proves that you can't always percieve the best of something, occasionally it can turn out negatively.
This song reminded me of The Most Dangerous Game because of how Rainsford is not willing to die. He is always thinking of new strategies to make sure that he will survive and never give up. This song would have been good to add into the movie when Rainsford is running from the hounds, or making any of the traps because it expresses a mood of confidence and that he is willing to do anything to survive.
This song made me think of The Most Dangerous Game because of the amount of confidence and willingness in the song. This could go in either the General's perspective or Rainsford's perspective. The General is determined to find Rainsford, leaving nothing in his way to stop him. Also, Rainsford is determined to beat the General, not letting something stand in his way either, but also wanting to get onto the island. For the general, this song could be good for when he is hunting Rainsford in the Death Swamp. He wanted to find him, so he kept looking for clues. Rainsford could be used when he is swimming toward the island because he wasn't ready to give up and wanted to reach the island .
This song reminded me of this short story because of where it took place and how the island treated Rainsford. During the story, Rainsford was mostly in the jungle; high in trees, in plain sight. The jungle treated him as if he was terrorizing the land and who was on it.
This song could represent when Rainsford first runs into the jungle because it gave him a chance to catch onto how the jungle worked and its ways of handling people hunting people on the island. It also sets the tone of the story as suspenseful and dangerous as well as the setting of the story.
"Devil" (paragraph 167) This is a key word in the story because it explains what Rainsford thought about general Zaroff, and how he regrets coming to this island. This word is important to the story because it sets a mood swing toward the General, leaving Rainsford no choice but to play his dangerous game. It connects to the main theme because it shows how you can be decieved by a first impression, but as you get to know someone the tables can turn.
Why is the General hunting human beings instead of getting a supply of animals for his "game"?
What purpose does Whitney serve in this story?
What background information can you find about Zaroff in this story?
How does General Zaroff have hounds if he cannot get any other animals out at sea, only humans?
Does the General need to pay certain finances for anything?
How did General Zaroff create the electric current in the ocean?
How did he calculate the exact spot of where the boats would crash when he made the electric current?
How long has the General been on the island?
How long does Rainsford stay on the island?
Does Rainsford ever go home?
Does this lead to a universal condition?
Who was Ivan really?
How did Zaroff discover the island?
Why doesn't his "game" have any rules?
Are those the only two classes that are relative to Rainsford?
Contextual Information
A connection that happened in real life was about a serial killer. This person was inspired to be one because of the movie The Most Dangerous Game. His name was Robert Hansen, living in Alaska at the time. A young prostitute walked up to the Alaskan Police Station claiming that a man had raped and tortured her. She told them the location this happened at and found him there. He pleaded himself innocent, but remains of other women prostitutes had been found later. They were all either shot or stabbed. Eventually he told the police the truth and called this his "game". He referred to this for sexual pleasure and would drop them off in the wilderness, naked, to hunt them down, similar to this short story. He showed the police an aerial map where he buried each of the women. They were able to find each one he labeled, which lead him to court. Robert Hansen pleaded guilty but only toward four of the murders. He was sentenced to 461 years in prison and then for life. Investigators had found seven more bodies which he had labeled on the map.
This connection is related to The Most Dangerous Game because it included a man- hunting- man plot. Both had a wilderness setting of where the people would try to hide from their opponents and was taken seriously by both Robert Hansen and General Zaroff. The only difference between both was that he would torture them before as well as rape them. Also, Robert left them with nothing, but General gave him some tools.
This was something that could connect to the story because it was a collage of pictures that relate to someone or something that is important in some way.
At the end of the story, the author uses a sense of relief to finish it off. This is important to the story because it lets all of the stress off of your shoulders. This lead to the open ending though. When the author used this, his intentions were to leave you pondering about what happened to the characters. Although the suspense was removed, it left you foreshadowing the rest of the short story. '"Rainsford!" screamed the general. "How in God's name did you get here?""Swam," said Rainsford. "I found it quicker than walking through the jungle."The general sucked in his breath and smiled. "I congratulate you," he said. "You have won the game."Rainsford did not smile. "I am still a beast at bay," he said, in a low, hoarse voice. "Get ready, General Zaroff."The general made one of his deepest bows. "I see," he said. "Splendid! One of us is to furnish a repast for the hounds. The other will sleep in this very excellent bed. On guard, Rainsford."
. . .
He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided."
With his remaining strength he dragged himself from the swirling waters. Jagged crags appeared to jut up into the opaqueness; he forced himself upward, hand over hand. Gasping, his hands raw, he reached a flat place at the top. Dense jungle came down to the very edge of the cliffs. 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, and that utter weariness was on him. He flung himself down at the jungle edge and tumbled headlong into the deepest sleep of his life. This was an important phrase to the story because it shows Rainsford that the island can treat you however it wants. Actually, it sets the tone of the characters, and the mood of the setting.
"When the general and his pack reached the place by the sea, the Cossack stopped. For some minutes he stood regarding the blue-green expanse of water. He shrugged his shoulders. Then he sat down, took a drink of brandy from a silver flask, lit a cigarette, and hummed a bit from Madame Butterfly." This was key in the story because Rainsford had tricked the General into thinking that he had won, but in fact Rainsford had swam faster than his walk to meet him in his bedroom. This is what set the tone of both characters at the end of the story and reflected upon how determination can be greater than thinking you have power.
A contextual detail that I found was something that you could tell about the time period it took place in. Context clues about where General Zaroff and Ivan are relevant to this because it shares where they might be migrating from. From the text, you can infer that both escaped from Russia due to the overthrow of Czar. In addition to this, you can tell because of the culture and foods he is familiar with. This is important to the text because it can help the audience get a deeper understanding of the character backgrounds and the traditions that Zaroff and Ivan may been holding.
Context Clue #1:
'"Ivan is an incredibly strong fellow," remarked the general, "but he has the misfortune to be deaf and dumb. A simple fellow, but, I'm afraid, like all his race, a bit of a savage."
"Is he Russian?"
"He is a Cossack," said the general, and his smile showed red lips and pointed teeth. "So am I."

Context Clue #2:
"They were eating borsch, the rich, red soup with whipped cream so dear to Russian palates. Half apologetically General Zaroff said, "We do our best to preserve the amenities of civilization here. Please forgive any lapses. We are well off the beaten track, you know. Do you think the champagne has suffered from its long ocean trip?"'
Context Clue #1:
"'Life is for the strong, to be lived by the strong, and, if needs be, taken by the strong. The weak of the world were put here to give the strong pleasure. I am strong. Why should I not use my gift? If I wish to hunt, why should I not? I hunt the scum of the earth: sailors from tramp ships--lassars, blacks, Chinese, whites, mongrels--a thoroughbred horse or hound is worth more than a score of them."
"But they are men," said Rainsford hotly.
"Precisely," said the general. "That is why I use them. It gives me pleasure. They can reason, after a fashion. So they are dangerous."'
A stand out technique used by the author was suspense. He had clear details giving me dynamic visuals that I could clearly imagine. His use of suspense often has his readers wondering about what will happen next and on the edge of their seat. Throughout the short story this writing technique sets of the sense of danger and evil. In addition, he added a feeling of horror when meeting the mysterious Ivan, and action or adventure during the time of the "game". The entire mood of the story, in my opinion, was put into one sentence. "He was finding the general a most thoughtful and affable host, a true cosmopolite. But there was one small trait of the general's that made Rainsford uncomfortable. Whenever he looked up from his plate he found the general studying him, appraising him narrowly." This was important to the story because it gave me an idea of what was happening throughout the rest of the story, and how one character can react to another or on another's actions.
This is one of my personal reactions to the story because Rainsford never gives up on himself throughout the "game" which helps him build up strength. If you change the word "love" in the lyrics and replace it with a differnt characteristics that Rainsford has, it would perfectly match his determination and willingness to succeed. It can be relative to The Most Dangerous Game mostly because of the strong amounts of pride the main character has for himself, and having the control over his body to never give up, always try harder.
This is one of my personal reactions of what the characters thought about one another. Neither one of them thought that they were going to lose, they were only determined to see the death of the other. This relates to The Most Dangerous Game because it has words that correlate with the story such as "you ain't no friend of mine" "they said you was high classed, but that was just a lie". These helped me relate to the story line because he thought that the General was higher classed but realized that the others just listened to him. Also, the characters didn't like each other, so they weren't friends.
This is another one of my personal responses to the book because it shares similar moods of the setting and key words that explain the characters. Rainsford is searching for adventure, and he ends of finding it. Also, Zaroff likes the nasty days where he has advantages, which is also included in this song.
I chose this to represent one of my personal reactions because the entire story was one thing after another that was based off of the other character. This picture can prove my point because it has one thing happening because of another thing. The little boy is drinking lots of milk, in which case he will grow big, strong muscles. "Rainsford's second thought was even more terrible. It sent a shudder of cold horror through his whole being. Why had the general smiled? Why had he turned back?" This lead to "He slid down from the tree, and struck off again into the woods. His face was set and he forced the machinery of his mind to function. Three hundred yards from his hiding place he stopped where a huge dead tree leaned precariously on a smaller, living one. Throwing off his sack of food, Rainsford took his knife from its sheath and began to work with all his energy."
I chose this picture because I thought that it was a key point during the story that arose the details of why Zaroff never got bored. He had used electric currents that shot out into the sea to trap boat in deep water with sharp rocks. Eventually the sailors fell into his lore which helps the General get more action out in the jungle. ""Watch! Out there!" exclaimed the general, pointing into the night. Rainsford's eyes saw only blackness, and then, as the general pressed a button, far out to sea Rainsford saw the flash of lights.
The general chuckled. "They indicate a channel," he said, "where there's none; giant rocks with razor edges crouch like a sea monster with wide-open jaws. They can crush a ship as easily as I crush this nut." He dropped a walnut on the hardwood floor and brought his heel grinding down on it. "Oh, yes," he said, casually, as if in answer to a question, "I have electricity. We try to be civilized here."' I thought that this was important to the story because it held information about Zaroff's secrets and how he was able to get sailors into his possession. Also, it is what helped the island get its name "Ship-Trap Island"
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