In “The Most Dangerous Game,” references to blood and red imagery are used as a warning of coming dangers and to reinforce an atmosphere of violence and death. When Rainsford is thrown overboard into the Caribbean Sea, Connell describes the water as “blood-warm,” signaling that Rainsford’s life is at risk both in that moment and in ways he has yet to discover. After he makes it safely to shore and rests, he discovers a place in the weeds “stained crimson,” and this his first visual indication that death has occurred on the island, though he assumes it was an animal’s death. Later, the reader discovers that General Zaroff hunts men, and so the blood Rainsford saw was likely from a human. With this imagery, Connell blurs the lines between predator and prey, hunter and hunted, reminding the reader that (in most cases) they both bleed red. Connell also uses red details to hint at General Zaroff’s predatory nature, describing his lips as red and explaining that his soup, called borscht and made from beets, is a dark red color. As an avid hunter of both beast and man, Zaroff consumes violence and death for sport and literal nourishment.
The timeline below shows where the symbol Blood and the Color Red appears in The Most Dangerous Game. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Most Dangerous Game