What is the surprise ending in "The Interlopers" by Saki and are it and the title appropriate?
Saki's short story "The Interlopers" ends ironically when the pinned-down characters realize that wolves are approaching them.
To create a surprising, ironic ending like this, the writer has to set up his story effectively. In this, a writer is not unlike a magician; he must direct the reader's attention elsewhere so that the ending is not expected.
In "The Interlopers," the initial focus is on whether or not the men will kill each other. The reader knows that the forest around them is full of game, but he/she is not thinking about the possibility of wolves. When the men encounter each other, our first thought is, "Will they attempt to kill each other?"
We get a surprise when a tree falls and pins them to the ground before they can shoot at each other. We get another surprise when they decide to become friends. At this point, we know we are near the end of the story. What we expect is for the men to be discovered. Perhaps the reader is wondering whether or not the men will honor their peace agreement. Saki has set up the reader for his surprise. When the men realize they are being approached, the characters and the readers wonder whose men are coming. The last thing any of us expect are wolves.
As with many story titles, "The Interlopers" has a double meaning. The men consider each other to be interlopers on their own land. Then as soon as the men make peace, the wolves become the interlopers. The wolves, however, are a different kind of interloper. The men will not be able to talk and reason with them as they have done with each other.
The surprise ending is that wolves reach Ulrich and Georg at the end of the story.
Wolves reaching the two men at the end of the story is appropriate. Ulrich and Georg have been the enemy of one another throughout the story. It's ironic and slightly amusing that each man should share the same fate that they would have wished upon the other.
The title is appropriate because each man feels that the other is an interloper on their land. The title also referes to the wolves as interlopers in the conflict between Ulrich and Georg.