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The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell Summary
♥♥ The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell ♥♥ The Most Dangerous Game, also published as The Hounds of Zaroff, is a short story by Richard Connell first published in Collier's magazine on January 19, 1924. It features a big-game hunter from New York who falls off a yacht and swims to an isolated island in the Caribbean where he is hunted by a Cossack aristocrat. The story is an adaptation of the big-game hunting safaris in Africa and South America that were fashionable among wealthy Americans in the 1920s. ♥♥ The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell ♥♥ Big-game hunter Sanger Rainsford and his friend, Whitney, are traveling to the Amazon rainforest for a jaguar hunt. After a discussion about how they are "the hunters" instead of "the hunted," Whitney goes to bed and Rainsford hears gunshots. He climbs onto the yacht's rail and accidentally falls overboard, swimming to Ship-Trap Island, which is notorious for shipwrecks. On the island, he finds a palatial chateau inhabited by two Cossacks: the owner, General Zaroff, and his gigantic deaf-mute servant, Ivan. ♥♥ The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell ♥♥ Zaroff, another big-game hunter, knows of Rainsford from his published account of hunting snow leopards in Tibet. Over dinner, the middle-aged Zaroff explains that although he has been hunting animals since he was a boy, he has decided that killing big-game has become boring for him, so after escaping the Russian Revolution he moved to Ship-Trap Island and set it up to trick ships into wrecking themselves on the jagged rocks that surround it. He takes the survivors captive and hunts them for sport, giving them food, clothing, a knife, and a three-hour head start, and using only a small-caliber pistol for himself. Any captives who can elude Zaroff, Ivan, and a pack of hunting dogs for three days are set free. He reveals that he has won every hunt to date. Captives are offered a choice between being hunted or turned over to Ivan, who once served as official knouter for The Great White Czar. Rainsford denounces the hunt as barbarism, but Zaroff replies by claiming that "life is for the strong." Realizing he has no way out, Rainsford reluctantly agrees to be hunted. During his head start, Rainsford lays an intricate trail in the forest and then climbs a tree. Zaroff finds him easily, but decides to play with him as a cat would with a mouse, standing underneath the tree Rainsford is hiding in, smoking a cigarette, and then abruptly departing. ♥♥ The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell ♥♥ After the failed attempt at eluding Zaroff, Rainsford builds a Malay man-catcher, a weighted log attached to a trigger. This contraption injures Zaroff's shoulder, causing him to return home for the night, but he shouts his respect for the trap before departing. The next day Rainsford creates a Burmese tiger pit, which kills one of Zaroff's hounds. He sacrifices his knife and ties it to a sapling to make another trap, which kills Ivan when he stumbles into it. To escape Zaroff and his approaching hounds, Rainsford dives off a cliff into the sea; Zaroff, disappointed at Rainsford's apparent suicide, returns home. Zaroff smokes a pipe by his fireplace, but two issues keep him from the peace of mind: the difficulty of replacing Ivan and the uncertainty of whether Rainsford perished in his dive.