In "The Interlopers," why is the narrow strip of woodland so jealously guarded by the Gradwitz family?
The absurdity of the long-enduring feud that exists between these two families is expressed in the qualities of this narrow strip of land. The narrator is very careful to tell us that it is remarkable neither for the quality of game nor the opportunities that it gave for shooting, but in spite of this, it was the "most jealously guarded of all its owner's territorial possessions." Although we can infer that Ulrich von Gradwitz inherited vast tracts of land and territory, it is this unattractive and undistinguished, narrow piece of land that he obsesses over. The narrator goes on to tell us why:
A famous lawsuit, in the days of his grandfather, had wrested it from the illegal possession of a neighbouring family of petty landowners; the dispossed party had never acquiesced in the judgment of the courts, and a long series of poaching affrays and similar scandals had embittered the relationships between the families for three generations.
Thus it is that we are shown Ulrich von Gradwitz guarding the property that he sees as belonging to him by himself on this dark and stormy night, and this piece of land becomes the focus of the personal feud between him and Georg Znaeym.