How does the setting contribute with the ending of the story in "The Interlopers"?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The strongest element of "The Interlopers," the setting with its "deed of Nature's own violence" in the storm acts as pathetic fallacy to the violent feelings that the two men, Ulrich von Gradwitz and Georg Znaeym, have harbored for each other. The sudden breaking of the branches of the ancient tree also acts in a symbolic way to represent the attempt of the men to break the feud and become neighbors, a futile attempt because they are pinioned under the branches, with Nature as interloper between their amity.  Furthering the motif of Nature as the ironic interloper, as the men lie helplessly waiting for their men to come and rescue them, they hear, not men, but wolves. This intrusion of Nature again acts as pathetic fallacy, underscoring the ancient Russian proverb, "Man is a wolf to man."