Michael RowanProfessor MayEnglish 102-0427 April 2020The Animal Within UsIn a game of survival, a person must use wits and reason to survive. In Richard Connell’sshort story “The Most Dangerous Game,” the protagonist Sanger Rainsford, who is trapped on a mysterious island, and discovers a large manor that belongs to General Zaroff. The general is a cryptic man who lives on the island alone with his disabled servant, Ivan. When survivors swim to his shores, Zaroff offers them a choice to be instantly killed by Ivan or hunted on the island byhim. For those that survive the game after three days, Zaroff promises them freedom; however, no one has bested the general. Zaroff offers Rainsford the same choice, and Rainsford reluctantly accepts. Rainsford sets out to survive his three days on the island with a small bag of food and a knife. The hunt plays like a cat and mouse since both characters are professional hunters and have similar personalities. In “The Most Dangerous Game,” Richard Connell uses a gradual protagonist, consistent antagonist, complexed conflict, and diverse symbols to demonstrate the theme that terror can change a person from civilized to savage.Connell presents the protagonist, Rainsford, who gradually evolves as he is hunted by Zaroff. Rainsford starts as a civilized man when he meets Zaroff, then experiences fear during the hunt, where the general secludes his morals on murder. Rainsford is civilized because he tells Zaroff he refuses to kill another person. Rainsford tells the general, “Thank you, I’m a hunter, not a murderer” (Connell 9). Even though Rainsford hunts animals, he attempts to be consistent in the sense of humanity because he does not want to take a person’s life. Journalist
Rowan 2Terry W. Thompson discusses Rainsford’s views on the world, and claims Rainsford “represents the best elements of the ascendant twentieth century and the new world order . . . [He is] a sell-made man of merit who chooses his own destiny, charts his own stars” (Thompson “The Two Centuries”). Thompson believes Rainsford has the ability to choose his path; however, his dangerous confrontation with the general forces him to make choices he meant to avoid.