Sanger Rainsford: Character Traits & Quotes

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  • 0:03 The Character of…
  • 0:29 Cool Under Pressure
  • 1:29 Strength & Fitness
  • 2:07 Rainsford as a Dynamic…
  • 3:36 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sarah Garrett

Sarah has taught secondary English and holds a master's degree in Curriculum & Instruction

Sanger Rainsford is the main character in Richard Connell's famous short story 'The Most Dangerous Game'. In this lesson we will discuss his character traits and significant quotes.

The Character of Sanger Rainsford

Sanger Rainsford is the protagonist of the story 'The Most Dangerous Game.' He's an excellent huntsman, and in the story, he ends up on Ship Trap Island and meets General Zaroff. We soon learn that Zaroff hunts humans on the island. After Rainsford refuses to hunt with him, Rainsford becomes the hunted, and a chilling adventure ensues. In this lesson, we will discuss Rainsford's character traits and important quotations.

Cool Under Pressure

Have you ever been in a panic situation and had to remind yourself to stay calm and keep your nerve? Rainsford uses this levelheadedness ability throughout the story.

As the story opens, Rainsford and his hunting companions are on a yacht headed to hunt jaguars in the Amazon. Alone on the deck, Rainsford hears a gunshot off in the distance. Trying to take a clearer look, he falls over the rail into the sea. He knows that attempting to swim to the yacht is futile. At this point, the narrator states that, 'A certain coolheadedness had come to him; it was not the first time he had been in a tight place.' This trait allows him to stay calm and swim to the shore of Ship Trap Island.

This levelheadedness also shows itself later during the hunt. After being released into the jungle Rainsford repeatedly tells himself, 'I must keep my nerve. I must keep my nerve.' He says it again a few days later, 'Nerve, nerve, nerve' he panted, as he dashed along.' Being able to keep his nerve and stay calm helped Rainsford build his traps and win the hunt.

Strength and Fitness

Another trait that Rainsford carries through the novel is his physical strength and fitness. After falling off the boat, he knows he must swim to the far-off shore. The story states, 'he swam. . . swimming with slow, deliberate strokes, conserving his strength. For a seemingly endless time he fought the sea. He began to count his strokes. . . he could do possibly a hundred more.' Being able to swim that distance requires incredible physical strength and fitness.

Rainsford's physical fitness and strength are also apparent while he is forging through the jungle for three days. Through the dank wilderness, he's able to keep going with very little sleep and provisions. In these conditions, physical strength and ability is a must.

Rainsford as a Dynamic Character

A dynamic character is one that changes and grows through the story. Rainsford's ordeal with becoming the hunted is central to the narrative; therefore, the quotes that relate to this topic are important.

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