Elements of Literature in Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game"

Essay by veryfatA+, September 2004

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Imagine a jaguar trapped on a desolate island. Suddenly, a gunshot is heard. The jaguar turns around and sees a hunter pursuing him! It runs for cover and hides behind a bush, out of the hunter's eye, or is it? The hunter stares straight at the bush in which the jaguar lays and then walks away. The jaguar knows it's going to be hunted each day until the hunter succeeds. Its life is in jeopardy. This is exactly how Rainsford feels when he is hunted by General Zaroff. Suspense, setting, and irony make Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game" an electrifying short story.

Suspense is a major element in this story. Without it, the reader will get bored. After Rainsford finds out that Zaroff has "invented" a new game, all the readers get curious of what that new hunt is. When Zaroff reveals his sick way of hunting humans, shock fills Rainsford.

Later in the story, Zaroff forces Rainsford to be hunted. During the first day in the forest, Rainsford is already discovered by Zaroff, but Zaroff does not shoot him down. He does this because he wants to save the hunt for tomorrow. At this point, one knows that Rainsford is in grave danger. Yet, later in the day, Rainsford builds a Malay man-catcher and gives the general a bruised shoulder. This event shows that Rainsford still has a chance to defeat Zaroff. Suspense puts the reader in a situation where the reader wants to know if Rainsford gets eaten by a pack of dogs or if Zaroff is defeated and Rainsford gets freed from the island. When Rainsford gets to a cliff with the sea the bottom, the reader gets on his edge of his seat to find out what happens next. Will he be torn...