The Most Dangerous Game

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

download word file, 1 pages 3.0

Downloaded 11 times

Thaddeus Smith believes that Richard O'Connell's story, "The Most Dangerous Game"�, is good literature and supports this belief by arguing that "The good guy wins, the story ends happily, and when you finish reading it, you feel good about things."� Firstly, I do not support Smith's summary of this short story. I believe that there was a twist in this story that Smith did not grasp and, consequently, he did not realize that it did not end happily. The story concluded with Rainsford reverting to the role of the hunter and killing the once feared Zaroff. The last line of the story, "He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided."�, leads me to believe that, in the end, Rainsford accepted his transition to the predator. In this story, the "good guy"� did not win but he simply became the maniacal menace, once portrayed by Zaroff. Therefore, I believe that this story did not end happily.

Secondly, I do not believe that all good stories must have happy endings. Shakespeare is regarded as one of the great playwrights in history and some of his notable works involve action and adventure but conclude in tragedy. It would appear that Smith has a very narrow mind on what he considers good literature. His basis for measurement is what he finds "fun"� to read. However, various types of literature can be considered "good"� without being simply "fun"� to read. One should not simply read literature and accept it at face value. Good literature will make the reader think, question the actions or thoughts of the characters, and challenge the reader's own thoughts, ideas and beliefs. If we allowed only happy endings to be the judge of good literature, many of the excellent works today would...