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

The Interlopers

by Saki
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What inferences do you think Saki intended readers to make about the characters of Ulrich and Georg?

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I think that Saki intends us to regard Georg and Ulrich as a couple of foolish old men engaged in a completely petty, pointless dispute. Here are two grown men fighting over a stretch of forest like a couple of children in a playground. They give the impression that they've...

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I think that Saki intends us to regard Georg and Ulrich as a couple of foolish old men engaged in a completely petty, pointless dispute. Here are two grown men fighting over a stretch of forest like a couple of children in a playground. They give the impression that they've never once stopped to think if this long-standing feud is really worth all the hassle. Instead, they've chosen to carry it on, blindly following the traditions of their respective families.

It's only when the two men are pinned beneath a fallen tree that they finally start to realize just how ridiculous this whole feud has been. But by then, of course, it's too late. For years, neither Georg nor Ulrich respected nature; they regarded it as nothing more than a piece of property, an object of exploitation. But now nature has exacted her terrible revenge, first in the shape of the falling tree, and then in the ominous arrival of a pack of slavering, hungry wolves. Even as they approach their imminent deaths, there's still something more than faintly comical about Georg and Ulrich as they loudly express joy and relief at what they wrongly perceive as their imminent rescue. They are a couple of foolish old men right until the very end.

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