The 1800s was a great era for authors and many a great author was born in this era. Authors chose to become one not because they could earn but rather because they loved to write. The short stories which came out in the era were absolutely beautiful. In this blog we are going to discuss about two very famous short stories which is “The most dangerous game” and “the Purloined Letter” which were penned all the way back in the late 1800s.
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The most dangerous game
“The most dangerous game” is a short story written by Richard Connell and first published in 1924. The Most Dangerous Game was made into a horror film in 1932 and was directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack and Irving Pichel. The lead of the movie was played by Joel McCrea, Fay Wray and Leslie Banks.
The plot of the movie is very exciting and it concerns a great hunter who stays in a desolate island which is surrounded by rocks. Many people who sail near the island hit the rocks and are stuck on the island. He then takes the passengers and hunts them for sport.
A great hunter and the main hero of the movie is Robert Rainsford also called as Bob. The ship hits the rocks and everyone drowns except for Bob. Bob is a strong swimmer and able to swim to the small island. Bob finds a large house where he meets Count Zaroff. He becomes the guest of Russian Count Zaroff, another great hunter. Zaroff is very familiar with the hunter Rainsford and his books.
Zaroff tells Bob about this obsession with hunting became boring until he discovered “the most dangerous game” on the island. Zaroff explains that he hunts humans. Rainsford calls him a madman and is very angry. Zaroff offers Rainsford an opportunity to escape by being the next prey.
The most dangerous game is simple. Rainsford will be turned loose at dawn, given a hunting knife and some provisions. He will be allowed the entire day to roam the island until midnight, when Zaroff will begin hunting with his dogs. If Rainsford survives until 4 A.M., then he wins the game and he can leave the island.
Eve goes with Rainsford and the two spend most of the day setting a trap for Zaroff. Zaroff is very clever and discovers the trap and begins chasing Rainsford. He is then attacked by a hunting dog. Zaroff fires a shot with his rifle and both Rainsford and the dog fall off the cliff into the water below.
Zaroff decides that Rainsford is dead and takes Eve back to his house. Zaroff is surprised when Bob returns safe. Zaroff is very happy and admits defeat. However Rainsford discovers Zaroff being a cheat and holds a gun behind his back. Rainsford fights Zaroff and mortally wounds him. Zaroff succumbs to his wounds and falls into the pack of his frenzied hunting dogs below, implying that he has now become their “prey”.
The Purloined Letter
“The Purloined Letter” is a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe and first published in 1844. The story features detective C. Auguste Dupin. The Purloined Letter is often cited as an early example of the detective genre and is known for its clever use of logic and deduction.
The story revolves around a stolen letter which is the purloined letter. The letter contains compromising information about a high-ranking government official. The police have been unable to locate the letter, so they enlist the help of Auguste Dupin. Dupin is able to deduce that the letter is hidden in plain sight in the apartment of the thief, Minister D–.
What sets “The Purloined Letter” apart from other detective stories of its time is the emphasis on intellectual and analytical abilities, rather than physical prowess or brute force. Dupin’s success in solving the case is due to his superior intelligence and ability to think logically. He is able to outsmart both the police and the thief, using his powers of observation and deduction to solve the case.
The story also explores the theme of power and corruption. The stolen letter contains information that could be used to manipulate and control others, and it is clear that the government official would go to great lengths to keep it from becoming public knowledge. The theft of the letter is a reminder that those in positions of power are not immune to corruption or deceit.
Another theme of the story is the idea of the double. The stolen letter is a perfect example of a double, as it appears to be a harmless piece of paper, but in reality, it contains information that could be used to ruin someone’s reputation or career. Dupin himself is also a double, as he is both a detective and a philosopher. He uses his analytical skills to solve the case, but he also takes a philosophical approach to understanding the motives and behavior of the thief.
In conclusion, “The Purloined Letter” is a masterful example of the detective genre, and a testament to Edgar Allan Poe’s skill as a writer. The story’s emphasis on intelligence and deduction, as well as its exploration of themes such as power, corruption, and the double, make it a timeless classic. Through the character of Dupin, Poe challenges the reader to think critically and to question their assumptions about the world around them.