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 is the point of view in the short story "The Interlopers"?

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The point of view of "The Interlopers" is third-person omniscient narrator. For, the narrator taps into the thoughts and feelings of Ulrich von Gradwitz and Georg Znaeym, even though near the end of the narrative as suspense rises the narrator does not describe the inner workings of the men quite as much in order to create more suspense.

omniscient narrator--a narrator who knows everything that needs to be known about the agents and events in the story, and is free to move at will in time and place, and who has privileged access to a character's thoughts, feelings, and motives. 

That the narration of Saki's "The Interlopers" is third-person omniscient is evinced in the exposition of the narrative as, for instance, the narrator describes the two men who are foes in an ancient feud over a "narrow strip of precipitous woodland." This "all-knowing" narrator describes the hatred between the two men who have continued the feud despite the ownership having been settled in a famous lawsuit between their grandfathers. Now von Gradwitz owns this land, but Znaeym is suspected by von Gradwitz of poaching in these woods.

  • Rising Action

During the rising action, this omniscient narrator remains throughout, describing the encounter of the two men at the beech tree and the feelings of each man as he becomes a victim of Nature's force, being pinioned beneath the fallen branches of this mammoth tree.

Relief at being alive and exasperation at his captive plight brought a strange medley of pious thank offerings and sharp curses to Ulrich's lips. Georg, who is nearly blinded with the blood which trickled across his eyes, stopped his struggling a moment to listen, and then gave a short, snarling laugh.

This point of view of omniscient narration continues throughout the narrative. Near the end of the story, suspense is enhanced as the focus is on the two men who raise their voices to shout in the hope that one of their hunters will come to rescue them. At this point, with the remaining dialogue, the narration is reduced to what is said and done by the two men, Ulrich and Georg in order to heighten suspense. However, the presence of the omniscient/all-knowing narrator is still apparent with the final description of Georg as he strains his eyes "to see what the other would gladly have not seen." 

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Saki uses 3rd person omniscient point of view for his story "The Interlopers." Evidence of this point of view appears in the narrator's knowledge of the two characters'--Georg Znaeym and Ulrich von Gradwitz--actions and thoughts. He begins by giving the reader the background to the long-standing feud, and later when the two enemies meet in the disputed forest, the narrator states that

"each had hate in his heart and murder uppermost in his mind."

Near the story's end, the narrator also tells readers that Ulrich is relieved and exasperated. While these emotions would show on one's face, the narrator clarifies the source ofUlrich's exasperation--that he is trapped when his opportunity to annihilate his enemy is so close. Again,Saki lets readers know the motive behind the character'sactions and gestures.

If the story were told in first person, readers would see the use of pronouns such as "I," "me," "we," etc. If Saki used 3rd person limited, readers would not know what the two men are thinking.

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The narrator of "The Interlopers" is the omniscient narrator. This type of narrator is a kind of mind reader, it is the all-knowing narrator. The narrator is not a character in the story and almost never refers to himself directly. The omniscient narrator is able to tell the reader everything, including how each character thinks and feels.

Just because the omniscient narrator knows all does not necessarily mean that this narrator will let you in all the information to be had in a story. Sometimes this narrator will save an important piece of information until the very last lines of a story, much like this one. Our omniscient narrator had a bird's eye view of what was happening with Ulrich and Georg, but did not tell us about the wolves until the last sentence of the story.

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