Briefly summarize the opening conversation between Rainsford and Whitney and explain what the conversation might foreshadow
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Pitting Rainsford and General Zaroff against each other in the hunt allows Connell to blur the line between hunter and prey, human and animal, to suggest that instinct and reason are not as mutually exclusive as people have traditionally thought. Writers and philosophers have traditionally placed human intellect and the ability to reason above the bestial instincts of wild animals, which have no moral compulsions and act solely to satisfy their own needs. Reason, therefore, transforms mere animals into people and allows them to live together in functioning societies. Connell first blurs the dichotomy between reason and instinct through Rainsford’s friend Whitney, who asserts that animals instinctively feel fear and then confesses that Captain Neilson’s description of Ship-Trap Island has given him the chills. Without realizing it, Whitney admits that his perception of the island has sparked a sense of dread in him, just as perceived danger induces fear in an animal.