Who are the interlopers in "The Interlopers"?

In "The Interlopers," the interlopers are the wolves who descend to devour the two trapped men, Georg and Ulrich, as they bring the resolution of their conflict to an abrupt end. However, Georg and Ulrich can also be seen as the interlopers, as they have so arrogantly believed that the land they are now trapped on solely belongs to them.

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Georg and Ulrich each think the other is the interloper on a piece of land that each believes he is the rightful owner of. This is a long-standing feud between the men's families that has become personal and bitter between Ulrich and Georg.

When they are both pinned under the...

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Georg and Ulrich each think the other is the interloper on a piece of land that each believes he is the rightful owner of. This is a long-standing feud between the men's families that has become personal and bitter between Ulrich and Georg.

When they are both pinned under the branches and foliage of a beech tree that comes crashing down in a storm, they are glad of the opportunity they believe has presented itself. Both expect their foresters to come soon to their rescue, and both look forward to fighting it out to the death between themselves and their men, with no "interlopers" to interfere with the battle.

However, the real interlopers are unanticipated by either man. Just after the two have decided to end their feud and become friends, a pack of wolves arrive that have been attracted by their cries for help. The wolves will reach the scene before any foresters, and both men will be devoured.

Both men have developed a narrow and arrogant mindset. They have only feared each other and have felt that only the other could claim ownership over the land. They have completely forgotten that nature has its owns ideas. The land is occupied by other predators, who can easily enough exert their own brute force or ownership over territory humans have deluded themselves into thinking is wholly theirs. Therefore, both the wolves and the two men serve as "interlopers" in this story.

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An interloper is an intruder. In the story it is Ulrich, Georg, and their families who are the intruders. Both men feel that the forest belongs to them. They look upon the land as a piece of property, something that can be bought and sold. But their unfortunate experience with the falling tree reminds them that this is not the case. Irrespective of Georg and Ulrich's legal claims, nature has a life of its own; ultimately it belongs to no one. The forest has been around since time immemorial; it was there long before either of these men and their families even existed, and it will still be there long after they've died. The Von Gladwitzes and the Znaeymses are interlopers, trespassers on a piece of land which in actual fact doesn't really belong to either family.

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The term interlopers refers to those who interfere in the affairs of others. This term takes different meaning as the story unfolds. In the beginning the two men refer to interlopers as anyone who might try to stand in the way of them killing each other. Later, after the two men are trapped under the tree, make peace, and end their families' feud, they refer to interlopers as anyone who might try to stop them from making peace. In the end of the story, it is ironic because it is the wolves who become the interlopers and because it is the wolves instead of men, the feud continues.

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The term "interlopers" has many applications in this story. Ulrich feels that Georg is interloping on his land. Georg thinks Ulrich is interloping on land that he (Georg) should have access to. 

When Ulrich goes out hunting for Georg, hoping to catch him on his land, the two enemies meet. Each man has always considered to other to be the interloper. 

After the tree falls, pinning them both to the ground, both men threaten each other. Ulrich claims that his men will find them and Georg will be in severe trouble. Georg also claims that his men are out in the forest and they will find them first. So, again, we have more potential interlopers. Ulrich thinks his men will be the final interlopers and Georg thinks it will be his men. 

However, before either group arrives, Georg and Ulrich end the feud and become friends. Ironically, they have to worry about a new set of interlopers: the wolves. 

 

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