illustration of a wolf standing in the forest looking toward a fallen tree that has pinned a man underneath

The Interlopers

by Saki
Start Free Trial

How are Georg and Ulrich similar, and how does the omniscient narrator show their thoughts?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Georg and Ulrich are similar in that both men have participated in a generational feud for much of their lifetime. As the other educator mentioned, both men are also stubborn, proud, and strong. Neither Georg nor Ulrich envisioned that their end would be met side by side.

As the story progresses, the omniscient narrator shows their thoughts through descriptive narration.

Ulrich was silent for a few minutes, and lay listening to the weary screeching of the wind. An idea was slowly forming and growing in his brain, an idea that gained strength every time that he looked across at the man who was fighting so grimly against pain and exhaustion. In the pain and languor that Ulrich himself was feeling the old fierce hatred seemed to be dying down.

In the above passage, the author describes the evolution of Ulrich's thoughts. When Georg initially rejects Ulrich's offer of wine from his flask, Ulrich does not say anything. We are told that he stays "silent for a few minutes." Then, slowly, an idea dawns on Ulrich. Here, we see Ulrich's perspective begin to undergo a transformation. Why? Because he sees that Georg is suffering just as much as he is, if not more. Ulrich's observations dim his "old fierce hatred." Anger and feelings of animosity do little to salve overwhelming physical pain.

It seems that Ulrich is the first to realize the futility of their combined hatred. By the time he offers Georg his friendship, he is a changed man. As for Georg, he too takes a long time to respond to Ulrich's offer. The author deliberately highlights how the men weigh new, important considerations in silence. In emphasizing their silence during moments of the greatest emotional intensity, the author also shines a spotlight on the dramatic changes in the men's attitudes.

After the two men reconcile, the author again uses descriptive narration to show us their thoughts.

And each prayed a private prayer that his men might be the first to arrive, so that he might be the first to show honourable attention to the enemy that had become a friend.

In the above passage, the author tells us how each man wants to be the first to show grace toward his old enemy. Both men are no longer fixated on their old resentments; instead, the tenor of their thoughts toward each other have changed.

To recap, the author uses descriptive narration and ruminative pauses to show the evolution of the men's thoughts.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Georg and Ulrich, even though they are enemies, have similar views on life and each other, causing them to have more in common than not. Both men think that they have a right to the land over which they have been feuding.  Both are arrogant (each man hopes that his men will be the first to rescue them from under the fallen tree so that he will have bragging rights over the other).  Both originally wish death upon the other--the narrator states that each "had hate in his heart." Finally, Saki implies that they both share the same death.

In regards to their thoughts, the narrator comments on the feelings and thoughts that each man has toward the other (hate, murder, pride).  While some of these thoughts are evidenced by the men's actions, most are only made available to the reader from the narrator's knowledge of their thoughts.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team