Discuss the various ways that color is used to set a mood in the story. How does such visual language add to the development of the setting?
The story contrasts the darkness of the island with the bright lights of the mansion. The lack of light surrounding the island also serves as an easy means for making a trap for unsuspecting sailors. In addition, Zaroff is described as having white hair with a black beard, black eyebrows, and black eyes. The color contrasts of Zaroff's features hint at his divided psyche.
Is there a difference between hunting humans and animals? Why or why not?
A complete answer would take a position, either there is or is not a difference between hunting humans and hunting animals. An detailed explanation of the selected position should reference differences in cognition, morality, ability to communicate, and understanding of the idea of sport among other things. Ultimately, one of the largest differences, as referenced by Zaroff in the text, is the ability of humans to reason.
“The Most Dangerous Game” gives very little indication of the time during which it is set. What details in the story reveal the time period? Why is such knowledge important for obtaining a deeper understanding of the story?
The fact that Zaroff and Ivan had to escape Russia due to the overthrow of the Czar gives some indication of the time period. In addition, the music and cultural references that Zaroff makes hint at what was popular during the time period in which the story was set. Knowing the time period provides historical context and allows for a deeper understanding of the characters' backgrounds.
Describe examples of zoomorphism and anthropomorphism used in the story. How do they help build the reader’s understanding of the characters?
At the beginning of the novel Whitney raises the question of whether or not a jaguar has an understanding of hunting. Rainsford feels that the jaguar has no understanding. Whitney, in this scene, could be considered by Rainsford to be anthropomorphizing the jaguar. As far as zoomorphism, there are numerous examples of self comparisons (on the part of Rainsford) to animals.
Is General Zaroff a credible character? Could such a situation unfold in today’s society? Why or why not?
Answers to this question will vary based on the reader's opinion. However, at least one of the following should be addressed-- the isolation of the island, the feasibility of large numbers of people disappearing without an investigation, bans on hunting, advanced technologies to avoid traps like those set up by Zaroff around Ship-Trap island, etc.
How does the fact that the story took place on an island contribute to the story?
The island is a physical metaphor for the isolation and removal of this situation from mainstream society. The rules and customs of the surrounding world do not necessarily apply. Moreover, its location, in the middle of a thick, dark jungle, gives the story a certain mystique.
Do you agree with Zaroff's belief that "instinct is no match for reason"? Why or why not? In what ways does Rainsford demonstrate both instinct and reason during the hunt?
In order to answer this question the reader has to take a stance-- either reason or instinct reigns supreme to the other. The strength and pitfalls of each characteristic should be examined. In addition, examples can be drawn from Rainsford's actions during various parts of the hunt (i.e. the construction of traps, previous knowledge of hunting, etc).
Do you think that the story is a commentary on the ethics of hunting? Why or why not? What moral positions could be drawn out from the text?
A complete answer should cite the position of one of the character's in the novel, e.g. Rainsford, Zaroff, or Whitney. If citing Whitney, one might argue that there is a case to be made against all hunting. Zaroff would undoubtedly fall on the side of pro-hunting. Rainsford, on the other hand, starts off with a very pro-hunting position that morphs as he experiences life as prey.
Describe the ways in which Zaroff's character is oxymoronic.
Zaroff lives in a beautiful estate in the middle of a wild jungle. The juxtaposition of civilization with untainted land is reflective of his character. He partakes in the finest of food, wine, and clothing, yet has a barbaric way of approaching the sport of hunting. Interestingly enough, Zaroff does not view his position to be barbaric because he allows the men who he hunts a great deal of comfort prior to the beginning of the game.
The title "The Most Dangerous Game" can be read in two different ways. Describe them and how they relate to the story.
Game can be read as either describing a sport or a hunted animal. In the former, reference is made to the game into which Rainsford finds himself thrust-- a life or death game of hunt. The latter relates to Zaroff's desire to hunt the most dangerous animal of all, the human.