In "The Interlopers," discuss the use of literary devices such as irony, satire, metaphor, and imagery.

Expert Answers

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

Briefly, the plot or action of "The Interlopers " revolves around a long-standing feud between Ulrich von Gradwitz and Georg Znaeym over a strip of wild land. Searching for each other with bad intentions, they both get trapped under a fallen tree. Trapped together, they realize the absurdity of...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Briefly, the plot or action of "The Interlopers" revolves around a long-standing feud between Ulrich von Gradwitz and Georg Znaeym over a strip of wild land. Searching for each other with bad intentions, they both get trapped under a fallen tree. Trapped together, they realize the absurdity of their feud, but it's too late: as they are becoming friends, a pack of wolves descends on them.

The theme of the story is that no human "owns" nature, which is symbolized by the wolves, the storm, and the fallen tree. Nature does not respect the legal "rights" of men. Fighting over land is pointless.

Irony is when events happen in a way that is unexpected. It is ironic that Ulrich and Georg become friends after hating each other for so long, and even more ironic when they do so at the point of being eaten by wolves, when the friendship can do them no good. The story satirizes or pokes fun at humankind's inflated sense of its own importance: Ulrich and Georg, in reality, are no more than prey in the winter forest. Ulrich uses a simile, a form of metaphor that employs the words like or as, when he says the two of them have been fighting "like devils." The story is rich in imagery, such as in the following:

The roebuck, which usually kept in the sheltered hollows during a storm-wind, were running like driven things to-night, and there was movement and unrest among the creatures that were wont to sleep through the dark hours.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on