“The world is made up of two classes—the hunters and the huntees. Luckily you and I are the hunters (Connell 10.)” In Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game” you see that it is enriched with such great life value which is why I love this short story. Now the question is, was this short story to entertain us and forget our troubles of the world or does it symbolize a true meaning of life? Literary fiction can be interpreted in so many ways depending on the person’s past experience, just as song lyrics can be interpreted depending on our life experience. The way I interpreted the moral of the story was you cannot judge someone until you have been in their shoes. This short story also plays the life role of civilization versus savageness.
What surprises me is that this short story was published on January 19, 1924. That was six years later after World War I ended. Is this why Richard Connell ties in civilization versus savageness in the story? World War I started because of clashes between the Great Powers. In “The Most Dangerous Game,” General Zaroff and Rainsford are both powerful game hunters. They end up disagreeing because each man has a different definition of game. For example, “I have Electricity. We try to be civilized here.” “Civilized and you shoot down men? (Connell 18)” The ironic thing about Rainsford saying that is he becomes a savage himself; just like General Zaroff. Rainsford at first is the hunter, and then becomes the hunted and finally the hunter again ‘killing’ off general Zaroff. “I am still a beast at bay (Connell 28)” This particular quote intrigues me as it has such a vague meaning to me. Does Rainsford mean he might be an animal inside but Civilization plays a big role in this because both parties are stranded on one Island far from the city and society. Usually when there is not much human contact, the person tends to become ‘savage’ like. From what I learned from this is that civilization is the key to peace, stability and happiness.
“Perhaps the Jaguar does?” “Bah! They’ve no understanding “Even so I think they understand one thing—fear. The fear of pain and the fear of death (Connell 10)” As I explained in my first paragraph, I interpreted the story as you cannot judge someone until you have been in their shoes. Be empathetic and not sympathetic. Sympathy is feeling sorry for the person without knowing how they feel and empathetic is understanding the situation they are going through. The quote I put above is a great example because Rainsford didn’t feel sorry for the animals he hunted. He only assumed what he knew because he’s only been seeing it from his perspective but once he was the one being hunted down by General Zaroff, he knew the huntee’s perspective. I’m still a little discombobulated about if Rainsford’ would follow General Zaroff’s footsteps in hunting humans.
Connell, Richard. “The Most Dangerous Game.” Perrine’s Story and Structure: An Introduction to Fiction. 13th ed. Ed. Thomas Arp and Greg Johnson. Boston: Cengage, 2012. 9-27. Print.