Characters in narratives are developed and revealed in a number of indirect ways:
- through a physical description of the character
- through the character's actions
- through the character's thoughts, feelings, and speeches
- through the comments and reactions of other characters
In Saki's "The Interlopers" one use of indirect characterization comes in the presentation of the feud between Ulrich von Gradwitz and Georg Znaeym:
In another use of indirect characterization, after disaster has struck the two men, Ulrich von Gradwitz has a change of heart from his bloodlust for his enemy. After realizing the value to life, von Gradwitz tells Znaeym:
"Neighbour,...do as you please if your men come first. It was a fair compact. But as for me, I've changed my mind. If my men are the first to come you shall be the first to be helped, as though you were my guest. We have quarrelled like devils all our lives over this stupid strip of forest, where the trees can't even stand upright in a breath of wind. Lying her tonight thinking I've come to think we've been rather fools; there are better things in life than getting the better of a boundary dispute. Neighbour, if you will help me to bury the old quarrel I--I will ask you to be my friend."
In direct characterization, the author tells rather than dramatizes as illustrated above in the indirect characterization. Here is an example of direct characterization in which Saki tells the reader about the two enemies in his exposition to the story:
...as boys they had thirsted for one another's blood, as men each prayed that misfortune might fall on the other....