Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more?
for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews December 16, 2023
December 9, 2023
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
General Zaroff’s Cossack background adds historical realism to the nightmarish hunt on Ship-Trap Island. Cossack is the general name given to a number of peoples in the Ural Mountains region of Eastern Europe in present-day Russia and Ukraine. Many Russian Cossacks, such as Zaroff and his assistant, Ivan, were military specialists who fought for centuries as mercenary soldiers in service to the czar until the collapse of the Russian empire in 1917. The Cossacks played a crucial role in expanding Russia’s borders and maintaining order along the frontier. Deeply feared, Cossacks were infamous for their swift and violent attacks and use of guerilla warfare tactics. Although Connell had no intention of promoting stereotypes in his story, he nevertheless wanted to capitalize on the mythic violence of Cossack warfare to heighten dramatic tension and expose the calculated madness of a single monstrous persona. Connell’s extreme portrayal of the Cossacks thus provides a credible explanation for Zaroff’s otherwise unfathomable motivations for killing.
Zaroff’s Cossack heritage not only highlights his brutality but also foreshadows his doom, as the hunter becomes the hunted. In 1917, the once heavily persecuted Communists seized power after anarchists overthrew the ruling czar and the entire feudal system in the Russian Revolution. The newly empowered Soviets turned against the feared Cossacks and tried to exterminate them in a ruthless ethnic cleansing campaign. Zaroff briefly mentions the genocidal campaign to Rainsford, which he uses to explain his departure from the Crimea and subsequent retreat to the remote Ship-Trap Island. Like his Cossack brethren, however, Zaroff too finds himself trapped when Rainsford turns the tables on him in the final climatic scene, reversing the roles of predator and prey.