The Most Dangerous Game
How we cite our quotes:
"Hurled me against a tree," said the general. "Fractured my skull. But I got the brute." (1.74
Hey, it’s all fun and games until a Cape buffalo busts your skull. Well, clearly it didn't knock any sense into Zaroff because this is the pivotal moment at which he decides he needs a more skilled (and reasonable) opponent.
When I was only five years old he gave me a little gun, specially made in Moscow for me, to shoot sparrows with. (1.88)
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.” (1.107)
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 unviolent. 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.