In "The Interlopers", what does the final word of the story suggest about the fate of the two men?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is hard not to be aware of the irony of the situation. Two sworn enemies by some twist of fate are trapped underneath the same tree unable to move, and both somehow make peace with each other, and both desire that their men be the first to come on to the scene so they can demonstrate their newfound friendship and love for one another by letting the other out and caring for him. It is when Ulrich sees figures "coming through the wood" that both shout out loudly, and these figures run towards them. Ulrich is incredibly happy that they are coming so quickly, until he sees them coming closer and realises who they actually are:

"Are they your men?" asked Georg. "Are they your men?" he repeated impatiently, as Ulrich did not answer.

"No," said Ulrich with a laugh, the idiotic chattering laugh of a man unstrung with hideous fear.

It is then that the final word of the story reveals the true identity of the "figures" that are coming, and also simultaneously reveals the fate of Georg and Ulrich. The wolves that they have attracted with their shouts will be able to feast upon the two men as they are trapped by the tree and unable to defend themselves. A grim, ironic end.

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