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

The Interlopers

by Saki

Start Free Trial

What is the rising action in "The Interlopers"?

Expert Answers

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

The rising action of "The Interlopers" begins as Ulrich von Gradwitz and his men search for his enemy; soon, they confront each other face-to-face, but the beech tree around which they have moved in opposite directions falls on them, pinning them beneath its large branches. As they lie pinioned, the foes are confrontational with each other until Ulrich offers his flask to Georg.

Here is a definition of the rising action: 

Rising action is a series of episodes in a narrative which occur after the exposition and lead to the climax of the story. Rising action usually comprises the majority of the plot, as the author must include all necessary events and information in the rising action for the eventual climax and denouement to be significant to the reader [Literary Devices]

In Saki's story, then, once the reader is introduced to the characters, Ulrich von Gradwitz and Georg Znaeym, and informed about their feud, the rising action begins.

  • Ulrich von Gradwitz and his hunters search for "the poachers." Ulrich strays from his men, hoping to confront his enemy on the wild night that presages a storm.
  • Suddenly, Ulrich's wish is fulfilled, but the men hesitate for a split civilized second because

...a man who has been brought up under the code of a restraining civilization cannot easily nerve himself to shoot down his neighbor in cold blood and without a word spoken....

  • Just as the men try to regain their composure, "a deed of Nature's own violence" intervenes and the men are caught under a mass of falling branches as the tree is struck by lightning. The two foes fall beneath large branches from which they cannot escape.
  • The two enemies argue over whose men will arrive first to rescue them and punish the other. Then, they exchange personal insults.
  • As time passes the men give up a useless struggle; instead, they wait and worry about whose men will appear first. Shortly thereafter, Ulrich tries to free one arm that is only partially trapped so that he can reach his flask.
  • After he succeeds in swallowing some of the reviving wine, Ulrich looks across "with something like a throb of pity" to where his enemy lies groaning in pain. He asks Georg,

"Can you reach this flask if I throw it over to you?....There is good wine in it....Let us drink, even if tonight one of us dies."

  • But, Georg replies that he scarcely can see for all the caked blood over his eyes; with hatred he adds, " any case I don't drink wine with an enemy."
  • Uncharacteristically, Ulrich is silent as an idea begins to form in his mind. Because of his physical pain, the old hatred seems to be dying.
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The rising action of the story is when the men get caught under the tree.

The rising action of the story is when complications start to be introduced.  After the exposition , which introduces that characters and setting, the rising action is when things start...

This Answer Now

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

Get 48 Hours Free Access

to get more and more interesting.

In this story, two families are feuding.  Two members of the feuding families meet in the woods, each trying to protect his claim on the land from the other family.  When they meet each other, trouble seems eminent.

 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. The chance had come to give full play to the passions of a lifetime.

The problem comes when the two men are trapped under a tree.  Their threat to each other is neutralized for the moment, and each can only threaten to have the other killed once his own men rescue him.  As they wait under the tree, they can't get away from each other.  They have to talk to each other, and get to know each other as people and not as nameless, faceless, enemies.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The rising action is the series of events in a story that leads to a climactic moment. In Saki's short story "The Interlopers," the exposition involves the background information regarding the intense family feud between the Gradwitz and Znaeym families over a highly disputed piece of territory. The rising action includes Ulrich von Gradwitz patrolling his territory on a wintry night in search of Georg Znaeym. The rising action also includes the moment when Ulrich stands face-to-face with Georg alone in the forest. Both men had left their hunting parties behind and the intensity of the story is about to peak as they stand across from each other ready to kill their enemy. The climax of the story takes place when a storm knocks over a mass of beech tree onto both men, trapping them beneath a heavy branch. Both men are incapacitated and cannot escape from the tree. It is important to note that the rising action comes to an abrupt end just before the climax of the story takes place.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The rising action of the short story, "The Interlopers," is the face to face encounter of Ulrich Von Gradwitz and Georg Znaeym. This is such a short story that the rising action, climax, and resolution take place in fast succession. 

In the beginning of the story, the setting is established. Both Ulrich and Georg dislike each other and this animosity goes back at least two generations. In light of this, Ulrich wishes that he could see Georg face to face to kill him. As Ulrich and his men were scouting for interlopers, namely Georg and his men, Ulrich actually gets his wish. He comes face to face with Georg. This is the rising action.

However, before he could act, the plot takes another step forward and a gush of wind knocks down a tree. Both men are trapped and cannot do anything. So, they just wait until they resolve their differences. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the short story, “The Interloper,” by Saki, there are many elements of conflict and rising action. There is definitely rising action as the animals in the forest (even those who don’t usually go out and about at night) are agitated. The weather plays into the rising action as it is so bitterly cold, and the wind is violent. When the two men meet and begin arguing the action continues to rise, and at that moment nature one’s again interjects her harsh soul as the tree falls on both men, pinning them to the ground.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team