Winner of the 1924 O. Henry Memorial Prize for Best Short Story (the Pulitzer Prize for stories) The Most Dangerous Game, also known as "The Hounds of Zaroff," is quite a thrilling and twisting read, a work consisting of approximately 34 pages, give or take, depending on the edition you choose from.
In the dead of night, two men, Whitney and Sanger Rainsford (no relation), who are both avid hunters, are on a yacht. Sanger is a noted author on hunting and somewhat of a playboy. The two are looking at what appears to be an isolated island ominously nicknamed Ship-Trap Island. While looking out, they discuss the game of hunting and briefly the ethics of it, analyzing the concept of fear and death that animals must surely sense when they are caught in the range of the hunter's guns. While Whitney is more sympathetic and open-minded of what the animals must sense, Sanger is indifferent, saying only, ""...Who cares what a jaguar feels. Bah! They've no understanding." It is a belief he'll come to regret; they also talk about the territory's supposed evil reputation by way of sailor lore. With the discussion coming to a close, Whitney turns in, thus leaving Rainsford alone on the deck. Mulling over things, Rainsford hears shots coming from the island, and while straining to see better, he loses his balance and falls overboard. Via the current and his own swimming ability, he lands on Ship-Trap Island without anyone on the boat noticing his disappearance.
On the island, he encounters the suave yet diabolical General Zaroff, a man whose passion for hunting surpasses that of his own. However, Zaroff does not hunt animals of the four legged variety. Staying in his opulent and well furnished island manor, Rainsford becomes well rested and unknowingly fattened up, all prep work done by Zaroff who wants his preys to be well nourished and fully energized for the chase; as Zaroff explains his joy at hunting humans to Rainsford, he becomes deathly ill at the inhumanity of it all. Zaroff simply delights in pursuing people who will use their ingenuity, wits and determination to survive. "Throw-away" people, as he sees it, will not be missed, for they were created for the pleasure of the strong. He looks at people the way hunters look at animals. It is just that black and white with nothing in between. Being a hazy witness to one of these hunts, Rainsford immediately wants off the island, but it's just not that easy, for he has to partake of the horror like all the others if he wants his freedom. And chances are, with Zaroff's acute hunting ability, he will not leave, for Zaroff's hunting record is 100% perfect, no losses whatsoever. Can Rainsfords survive the three days of open hunting with a maniac who knows all and assumedly sees all? That's the thing.
The Most Dangerous Game was a thought-provoking read, because it can be applied to all aspects of hunting and trying to quench the endless thirst of that which we most want, be it power, materialism, sex, vanity, money, a laundry list attached to the human psyche that can be endlessly yearning and strategizing but never fulfilled.
Winner of the 1924 O. Henry Memorial Prize for Best Short Story (the Pulitzer Prize for stories) The Most Dangerous Game, also known as "The Hounds of Zaroff," is quite a thrilling and twisting read, a work consisting of approximately 34 pages, give or take, depending on the edition you choose from. In the dead of night, two men, Whitney and Sanger Rainsford (no relation), who are both avid hunters, are on a yacht. Sanger is a noted author on hunting and somewhat … more
The Most Dangerous Game is the popular short story originally published in 1924 which was written by Richard Connell. This is the story of a big game hunter who is trapped on an island with a fellow hunter, who is uninterested in hunting stereotypical prey, and instead decides that the only prey worthy of his skills is other humans. This title is often required reading in middle schools, and has been since adapted into movies and extended versions. This title is the original version by the author, and is considered one of the greatest short stories ever written.