Suspense is what makes a story popular because it is interesting to read. Suspense is used in most stories to make the plot interesting. There are several factors that generate suspense in the story The Most Dangerous Game produced by Richard Connell. The use of pauses by punctuations, recurring vivid imagery, and the dialogue itself helped create mystery and suspense. These are just a few of the many ways that Richard Connell used to make the reader lust for emotionally satisfying events.
The use of pauses by punctuations is a writing style used by Richard Connell to help generate suspense. In the story, wanted information is sometimes delayed by action. For example, in the conversation by Rainsford and General Zaroff, the information is often delayed by the author. “The General took from his pocket a gold cigarette case”… (Richard Connell, 7) This action happened when the general stated that hunting tigers ceased to interest him. The author delayed the wanted information when Rainsford was obviously curious to know what animal the General hunts. Furthermore, Richard Connell also frequently used a dash ( — ) during a conversation.
The dash showed that the talking character may be interrupted by an action or to the least that the author wanted to accentuate the words after the dash. The conversing characters may have been opening a door or even using hand gestures during the conversation to help emphasize their point. Whatever it may be, the author used this technique to slightly delay the information which causes the reader to try and visualize the character during the conversation which also produces mystery and suspense. An example is the conversation of Rainsford to his friends in the beginning of the story. As one of his friends suggested “The Place has a reputation—a bad one.”(Whitney, 1) Though writing style alone does not generate enough tension to make the reader crave for the wanted information.
Richard Connell also used vivid imagery in order to make the story more interesting. While reading the story, the reader may notice that the author used similarly colored objects for the imagery. Throughout the story, a red colored imagery is used constantly. The first use of the red image was when Rainsford was wandering around the ship trap island. “…; one patch of weeds was stained crimson,” (Richard Connell, 4) This quote alone provided enough mystery and suspense to make the reader wonder. Reddish images were also used all throughout the story. From the blood-warm waters, to the part where they drank borsch; a red Russian soup, they drank port; a type of red liquor and the General gave Rainsford a red lipped-smile, the constant use of the red imagery portents and highlights a murderous and bloodlust filled atmosphere which in turn, generates anxiety of the reader for Rainsford.
The reader may have even begun to suspect that something supernatural is to happen such as the General to be Count Dracula. Furthermore, the author also used dark images throughout the story. While Rainsford was still boarding the yacht, Rainsford described the fog with the words “Ugh! It’s like moist black velvet.”(Rainsford, 1) Especially that Rainsford’s companions described that they could feel evil surrounding Ship Trap Island as if it was tangible.
Also, when Rainsford found Zaroff’s villa or castle, the author gave this scene a very dark imagery. The bleak darkness, the shadows, the gargoyle, and even Ivan’s astrakhan clothing echoed an evil and mystery filled atmosphere to the story. A reader with no clue about the story’s plot may think that the story’s protagonist accidentally stumbled upon Transylvania. Although imagery delivers a lot of suspense, it is still not enough to satisfy the author’s desire to fill the story with thrill.
The dialogue itself is one of the main contributors for suspense in the story. Even when the protagonist was still onboard the yacht, the author tried to build up as much suspense as possible. “The place has a reputation—a bad one.”(Whitney, 1); said by one of Rainsford’s friends. This alone persuades the reader to ask themselves to what is so special about Ship Trap Island. Also, during Rainsford’s conversation with Zaroff, Zaroff explained to Rainsford that he has recreated hunting. “Here in my preserve on this island … I hunt more dangerous game.”(Zaroff, 7) Again, just as Rainsford, the author made the readers desire and lust for the answer to the mystery. This quote helped the cause of building suspense.
Moreover, during the hunt, whenever Rainsford managed to make the General retreat, Zaroff stated that “… I shall be back.”(Zaroff, 17) To make things worse, after his second retreat, “… Ill see what you can do against my whole pack…”(Zaroff, 17) What’s gonna happen to Rainsford? How is he going to escape Zaroff? These are just the types of questions that the reader might have asked themselves. To hunt or to be hunted, and only the strongest will survive, this is the logic behind the madness of this monstrous persona.
Ironic as it is that Rainsford is also a hunter, now he is the mouse and Zaroff is the cat. Also, as the story is about over, Rainsford managed to ambush Zaroff in his room. “I’m still a beast at bay” (Rainsford, 20), Rainsford stated to Zaroff, as soon as the reader discovers this; their lust for the emotionally satisfying ending kicks in. Who would win the final fight? Even in the end, Richard Connell still gave us something to think about when Zaroff, who used to be the hunter, switches roles with Rainsford to be the hunted.
Suspense is the whole reason to why people claim that they stay past their bedtime reading books. A reader does not stop reading until their desire for the answer to their questions about the plot is answered. People who have read The Most Dangerous Game may say that this story created by Richard Connell is one of the most suspense filled story ever produced. Richard Connell used many techniques to create suspense, the usage of pauses in his writing style, recurring vivid imagery, and dialogue. What and when was the last time that you read a story just as mystery and suspense filled as The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell?
Courtney from Study Moose
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