The Most Dangerous Game is full with violence, Whitney says that. “What I felt was a—a mental chill a sort of sudden dread.” Whitney taps into a central idea here: that the violence the characters will experience is not limited to what happens to your body, it’s also what happens in your head. But Rainsford dismisses Whitney’s fear as “Pure imagination.””A simple fellow, but, I’m afraid, like all his race, a bit of a savage.””Is he Russian?””He is a Cossack,” said the general, and his smile showed red lips and pointed teeth. “So am I.” Here’s a good place to put two and two together: If Ivan is a savage and a Cossack and Zaroff is a Cossack, does that mean he’s a savage, too? In his hand the man held a long-barreled revolver, and he was pointing it straight at Rainsford’s heart.What does a man answering the door with a revolver expect to find? A trick-or-treater? A Bengal tiger? The fact that Rainsford tells him not to be”alarmed” is an indication that our protagonist may be missing a few clues.Some wounded thing—by the evidence, a large animal—had thrashed about in the underbrush; the jungle weeds were crushed down and the moss was lacerated; one patch of weeds was stained crimson. This is a little thing we in the forensics field like to call “evidence.” Connell presents evidence on two levels here: the first is for Rainsford himself. The scene of struggle ispractically shouting, “Hey something ugly happened here—and with a gun!” Now, given that a weapon was used, is it Rainsford’s best idea to head to the only place on the island where people are and just go up and knock on the door?Secondly, Connell is sending us (the readers) a hint that it’s about to get real: look at his word choice: “thrashed,” “crushed,” “lacerated”… Come on, people! Not many men know how to make a Malay mancatcher. Luckily for me I, too, have hunted in Malacca. You are proving interesting, Mr. Rainsford. I am going now to have my wound dressed; it’s only a slight one. But I shall be back. I shall be back.” When I was only five years old he gave me a little gun, specially made in Moscow for me, to shoot sparrows with. This is what we call “a childhood history of violence.” Now in our current politically correct world, we would not encourage someone barely out of Pampers to shoot at small animals—although Angry Birds really helps five-year-olds with their fine motor skills. And while Zaroff lived in different times for sure—Crimea circa 1900s—the gun toting toddler activities do seem to have made an impression on him.”It must have courage, cunning, and, above all, it must be able to reason.” Imagine this sentence being Zaroff’s Match.com description for the perfect opponent. Now, why did we put this one under the theme of “Violence”? Because it is so violent. It’s not like he says, “It must have a vicious appetite for blood, lack of human compassion, and the ability to tear a human limb from limb with his bare hands.” That’s what Ivan is there for.