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What is the metaphor and simile in the story "The Interlopers"? What was Ulrich von...

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melonamy | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 27, 2009 at 11:50 AM via web

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What is the metaphor and simile in the story "The Interlopers"? What was Ulrich von Gradwitz's wish when he wandered away from his crew?

Saki's "The Interlopers"

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 28, 2009 at 4:39 AM (Answer #1)

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In "The Interlopers" as Ulrich von Gradwitz hunts for the "game" he has long sought, he comes face-to-face with his enemy, Georg Znaeym, "the inheritor of the quarrel and tireless game-snatcher and raider of the disputed border-forest."  For generations there has been a dispute over the borders of property; despite the issue's having been settled in a legal court, Znaeym's family never "acquiesced in the judgment."  This refusal of judgment is the reason von Gradwitz hunts his enemy, the "game" he seeks and wishes to encounter.  Here the word game is a metaphor for Znaeym, his prey on this winter night.

However, the greatest metaphor in Saki's story is the title:  "The Interlopers," the forces of Nature that interfere with the settlement of the men's feud.  For, when the two enemies encounter each other suddenly, vis-a-vis, their civilized natures do not allow them to react immediately.  In this brief window of time, "a deed of Nature's own violence overwhelmed them both."  A mass of falling beech tree descends upon them, pinning them. 

As they are held prisoner by the massive branches, von Gradwitz looks across "with something like a throb of pity to where his enemy lay...."  This simile is the beginning of the change of heart for the land owner who feels his old fierce hatred...dying down." He tells Georg Znaeym,

Neighbor, if you will help me to bury the old quarrel I--I will ask you to be my friend.

On considering this, Znaeym remarks that such an arrangement would bring peace to their people.  He imagines how their friendship will be expressed in dinners and hunts.  Both men reflect upon the "wonderful changes that this dramatic reconciliation" will effect.  But, as each waits, hoping his own men will arrive first so that he may be "the first to show honorable attention to the enemy that had become a friend," the interloper of Nature again intrudes: wolves have answered their calls for help.

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