Rainsford proves that it takes more of a person than just muscles and some hair on your chest to survive in the jungle. In Richard Connell’s short story, “The Most Dangerous Game,” Sanger Rainsford shows us what it takes as he is the protagonist in this short story. While traveling for a big hunt, Rainsford falls off a yacht and must swim to a place called Ship-Trap Island. On this island, Rainsford finds a house where he meets General Zaroff and his servant Ivan. He learns quickly the only way to leave the island is to play the game of being hunted. He survives the jungle through his strong mentality, impeccable shape, and past experiences as a big game hunter.
It would be understandable if a person is being hunted down to be killed like an animal that the most natural reaction is to panic, but not for Rainsford. He understands that he “must keep his nerve” while he tries to put a great amount of distance from General Zaroff in the beginning (Connell 11). His strong mentality keeps him focused throughout the entire course of the competition. This will help to think about what he should do next instead of letting his emotions get the best of him. Later, in the game, while Zaroff turns his back, it gives Rainsford the chance to get back on his foot and he reminds himself that “[he] must not lose his nerve, [he] will not” (Connell 12). This is constantly showing that he determined to come up on top.
Despite the many obstacles that Rainsford had before he knew what he was going to get himself into, he had swum under almost 50 feet before he realized his best chances of surviving would be to head towards shore but first had to “wrestle out of his clothes” in the water (Connell 2). To just must accomplish these tasks, shows that Rainsford was in impeccable shape to make sure that he paced himself. He even climbed a tree as if he was a cat and tried to take a nap.
Being one of the most renowned famous hunters who has the experience and had also wrote hunting books have given Rainsford the advantage to outsmart General Zaroff. Rainsford is one of the few men that “know how to make a Malay mancatcher”, which had injured Zaroff’s shoulder (Connell 13). Rainsford was able to use the “Burmese tiger pit” to capture and kill one of Zaroff’s best dog (Connell 13). As experienced as a hunter, he also found to think like a sneaky prey such as the fox and gave Zaroff “a trail to follow” while making a “series of intricate loops” (Connell 11). He used different tactics continuously and never did the same trick twice. By him always being unpredictable to Zaroff is the reason why he became victorious at the end of the competition.
In conclusion, Rainsford proves through his strong mentality, impeccable shape, and past experiences as a big game hunter is what it takes to make it through the jungle. I do believe that although his experience came with time, that it was worth a great amount. No one had ever won against General Zaroff because most of the men were most likely sailors with no experience of hunting. If he did not have one of any of these three qualities he possessed, the jungle or General Zaroff would have got the best of him.
- Connell, Richard. The Most Dangerous Game. Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2009.