What is the main lesson of "The Interlopers"?

The main lesson of "The Interlopers" is that it is wrong to harbor generations-long animosities between families and that enemies should attempt to reconcile before it is too late. If opponents have a chance to get together and communicate with each other, they may find that they can become friends.

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One lesson that the narrative of "The Interlopers" presents is that people should not become mired in issues that are not essential to the quality of their lives.

The plot of Saki 's story revolves around an ancient grudge that two young men have allowed to become foremost...

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One lesson that the narrative of "The Interlopers" presents is that people should not become mired in issues that are not essential to the quality of their lives.

The plot of Saki's story revolves around an ancient grudge that two young men have allowed to become foremost in their lives as they have inflamed the hatred between their two families, who once disputed a small tract of land:

The feud might, perhaps, have died down or been compromised if the personal ill-will of the two men had not stood in the way; as boys they had thirsted for one another's blood, as men each prayed that misfortune might fall on the other.

Of course, the old maxim "Be careful what you wish for" is also applicable to the narrative of "The Interlopers," as well as the senselessness of their feud, since misfortune does, indeed, befall the two enemies. Unfortunately, it has taken a disaster to effect a change of heart in the two men, and as fate would have it, this realization comes all too late. For it is only after the two men are pinioned under the fallen branches of a huge beech tree, lying hurt and helpless, that Ulrich von Gradwitz arrives at the understanding of the real insignificance of his feud with Georg Znaeym in light of their life and death situation. Unfortunately, when the two old enemies finally put away their feud, it is too late because they are confronted with death in the shape of fierce wolves who hear their cries for help.

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The main lesson in Saki's "The Interlopers" concerns the futility of generations-long animosities and desires for vengeance and the desirability of respect and reconciliation. To illustrate this lesson, Saki presents two men, each of whom are convinced of the malevolence of their enemy and the righteousness of their own stance.

Ulrich von Gradwitz seeks to protect a parcel of his land from the poaching of Georg Znaeym. Gradwitz's family won this parcel from Znaeym's family in a lawsuit "in the days of his grandfather." The Znaeym family did not accept the conclusion of the lawsuit and have been poaching on the land that they claim is theirs ever since. Gradwitz and Znaeym have been personal enemies since their youth. Saki writes that "as boys they had thirsted for one another's blood, as men each prayed that misfortune might fall on the other." We understand that Saki has set up this background so that readers can realize the hatred that lies between these two men, a hatred that goes far beyond reason or circumstances. Inevitably the two men meet face-to-face.

The two enemies stood glaring at one another for a long silent moment. Each had a rifle in his hand, each had hate in his heart and murder uppermost in his mind.

If this was a simple story of vengeance, one would kill the other, and that would be the end. However, Saki's intention is to point out the insanity of their long-standing feud, so he causes a tree branch to fall upon them, pinning them down and forcing them to communicate with each other. At first they wish "death and damnation" upon one another, but as no one comes to rescue them, they begin to reflect upon their differences. "The old fierce hatred" dissipates, and in its place comes respect and even affection. We see that the lesson of Saki's story is that differences can be resolved and that people who have been traditionally enemies can become friends.

However, as the wolves appear, there is a final lesson. If grudges are held too long, the opposing parties may not have time to work them out before they die. In other words, it is not only important to reconcile with your enemies but also to do so as soon as possible.

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