The Most Dangerous Game/Richard Connell

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Guest
Characters
Sanger Rainsford, an accomplished and experienced hunter from New York.
General Zaroff, a man of pre-Revolutionary Russian aristocratic background. Above middle-age. Utterly fixated on hunting.
Ivan, Zaroff's large Cossack slave and bodyguard. He is deaf and dumb. This makes him ideal to Zaroff as it is impossible for Ivan to tell anyone of General Zaroff's murders if he somehow escapes the island.
Whitney, Rainsford's friend who appears briefly in the introduction, wondering what it would be like if he were the hunted instead of the hunter.

Summary
Sanger Rainsford and his hunting companion Whitney are traveling to the Amazon forest to hunt the fabled big cat of that region, the jaguar. After a discussion about how they are the hunters instead of the hunted, Rainsford hears shots, drops his pipe, and falls off of their boat while trying to retrieve it. He washes up on an island, Ship-Trap Island, that is the subject of local superstition. He finds a palatial chateau owned by a Cossack hunter named General Zaroff and his Cossack servant Ivan. General Zaroff, also a big-game hunter, has heard of Rainsford and read Rainsford's book. Over dinner, General Zaroff explains to Rainsford how he became so good at hunting that he became bored and unchallenged with it. He then decided to live on an island where he captured shipwrecked sailors and sent them, with only food, a knife, and hunting clothes, into the jungle. Three hours later, he would follow them to hunt and kill them. If they eluded him for three days, he would then let them go, but he has so far managed to kill them all. After explaining this, Zaroff then tells Rainsford that he will be the next person to be hunted.

Rainsford runs into the forest and climbs a tree. Zaroff finds him easily, but decides to play with him like a cat with a mouse. After the failed attempt, Rainsford builds a "Malay man trap" which injures Zaroff in the shoulder. Next he sets a tiger trap, which kills one of Zaroff's hounds. Finally, he sets a trap with his knife that kills Ivan, but not Zaroff. As the hounds approach, Rainsford jumps off a cliff into the ocean. Zaroff assumes Rainsford has killed himself and returns home. Rainsford is there, having swam around the island. Zaroff congratulates him on winning the "game," but Rainsford decides to fight him, and says "I'm still a beast at bay." The General accepts the fight, saying that the loser should be fed to the dogs and the victor would sleep in the master bedroom's bed.

Although it is not stated in the story, it is implied that the General was fed to his hounds because of the last sentence of the story -- Rainsford declaring that "he had never slept in a better bed."
 
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