The Most Dangerous Game Quotes

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  • 0:04 Quotations in 'The…
  • 0:50 Whitney Quotes
  • 2:32 Rainsford Quotes
  • 4:08 Zaroff Quotes
  • 5:23 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Katherine Garner

Katie teaches middle school English/Language Arts and has a master's degree in Secondary English Education

In this lesson, we will explore how Richard Connell uses character quotations to reveal important information throughout his suspenseful, classic story 'The Most Dangerous Game.'

Quotations in ''The Most Dangerous Game''

''The Most Dangerous Game'' is a suspenseful story about a hunter, Rainsford, who falls overboard from his boat and washes ashore Ship-Trap Island. He encounters General Zaroff, a man who loves hunting so much that the only game challenging enough for him is hunting humans. Rainsford finds himself playing that dangerous game, where winning and losing is a matter of life and death.

Richard Connell uses quotations in ''The Most Dangerous Game'' to give us information about the character who is speaking, to foreshadow future events, and to reveal important themes of the story. Three characters have major speaking roles in this story: Whitney, Rainsford, and Zaroff. Each of them has significant quotes that perform one or more of these purposes.

Whitney Quotes

Whitney is Rainsford's companion on the yacht that they are sailing at the beginning of the story. He plays a small role, for he continues sailing after Rainsford falls overboard and we do not see him again after the first few pages. He does have several significant quotes, though, that function as both foreshadowing, or hinting at future events in the story, and to reveal the theme, or central idea of the story.

At the very beginning, Whitney comments when Ship-Trap Island first comes into view: ''The place has a reputation--a bad one. . . Even cannibals wouldn't live in such a God-forsaken place. But it's gotten into sailor lore, somehow.'' Right away, Whitney foreshadows that there is something terrible happening on that island. He adds, ''Sometimes I think sailors have an extra sense that tells them when they are in danger. Sometimes I think evil is a tangible thing--with wave lengths, just as sound and light have.'' Whitney continues to build the suspenseful and eerie mood by commenting on how sailors seem to be able to perceive evil and that they are all afraid of Ship-Trap Island.

Whitney also has a conversation, or argument, with Rainsford about hunting that reveals important central ideas of the story. Whitney casually comments, ''Great sport, hunting. . . For the hunter. . . not for the jaguar.'' Rainsford replies that he does not think animals can feel fear and he does not care about the animals he hunts. Whitney is more empathetic and thinks about both sides of the hunt. He responds, ''I rather think they understand one thing--fear. The fear of pain and the fear of death.'' Whitney's perspective on hunting, especially contrasted with Rainsford's, will become significant later, when Rainsford finds himself on the other side of the hunt, chased by Zaroff.

Rainsford Quotes

Sanger Rainsford, a world-renowned hunter, has several important quotations that reveal his point-of-view on hunting, and how it changes over the course of the story, especially when the tables turn and Zaroff is hunting him down in the jungle. When he talks to Whitney at the beginning and Whitney expresses sympathy for the jaguars they hunt, he is critical: ''This hot weather is making you soft, Whitney. . . The world is made up of two classes--the hunters and the huntees. Luckily, you and I are the hunters.'' This quote shows that Rainsford thinks having sympathy for the hunted is silly and that the most important thing is to be the hunter and not the huntee. This quote is ironic because Rainsford ends up becoming the huntee later in the story and he very much does feel the fear of pain and death. It also touches again on one of the main themes in this book, the relationship between the hunter and the hunted.

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