Literary Analysis of The Most Dangerous Game
Richard Connell’s The Most Dangerous explains multiple theories, such as nature versus nurture, and survival of the fittest. This short story also seems to have an underlying theme of Social Darwinism (Of Two Classes). Throughout the entirety of the short story, Connell shows a character change of a main character, Rainsford, who is at a constant battle with General Zaroff, the antagonist. This character change shows the importance of the mindset of characters, and how it can be applied to everyday life.
In the beginning and towards the end of the short story, the theory of nature versus nurture becomes apparent. In the beginning when Rainsford is talking to Whitney, Rainsford believes that the jaguar does not feel. This would be a product of Rainsford’s nurture, or the influences in his life (Connell’s The Most Dangerous Game). Rainsford’s parents or other childhood influences probably taught him that animals do not have feelings, and he has carried this belief all the way up to adulthood. However, nature seems to prevail in this case. By the end of this story, Rainsford is faced with the challenge of being murdered, or becoming the murderer. Everything he learned up to that point in time disappeared and instinct kicked in. The line “One of us is to furnish a repast for the hounds. The other will sleep in this very excellent bed. On Guard, Rainsford…” makes the reader question if Rainsford with favor on the side of nature, or nurture, but the closing line of the story “He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided.” shows that nature will always overcome nurture (Connell’s The Most Dangerous Game).
The theory of nature versus nurture can also be applied to the character General Zaroff, a strong willed, thrill seeking antagonist. Throughout the short story, General Zaroff never shows any compassion for the game he is hunting, whether it is a tiger, elephants, bears, or humans. He takes...
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