Introduction to The Interlopers

“The Interlopers” is a short story by Saki. It was published posthumously in the 1919 collection The Toys of Peace, and Other Papers. Saki served—and died—during World War I, and “The Interlopers” was written during his deployment. This is reflected in the story’s themes surrounding class conflict and pointless feuds. Both Ulrich and Georg, the story’s central characters, are prideful individuals who feel entitled to a parcel of land. Their conflict is inherited, dating back generations, but each man upholds the grudge as if it were entirely personal. Even in their moment of reconciliation, they are both too selfish to entirely embrace their mutual humanity. Each man hopes to be the one who will get to magnanimously rescue the other via the arrival of their men, indicating that the end of the feud has not truly changed the nature of the two men. Ultimately, nature must intervene in order to render Georg and Ulrich equals. As the wolves descend upon the trapped men, the central conflict of the story shifts away from man versus man and instead takes on its true form: man versus nature.

A Brief Biography of Saki

Hector Hugo Munro (1870–1916), who published all of his fiction under the pseudonym Saki, was a British writer known for his short stories, which satirized contemporary society and politics. Munro was born in the British colony of Burma—now known as Myanmar—but was raised, along with his siblings, in England by his puritanical aunts. After Munro’s father retired from his diplomatic post in Burma, the family toured around Europe. Munro originally attempted to follow his father’s career path, but he fell ill while abroad in Burma and returned permanently to England to begin working as a writer. He started his career as a journalist and experienced a series of false starts. His first major success began with the publication of his collaborative episodic work, The Westminster Alice, a series of political satires modeled after Alice in Wonderland. This was also the first work to be published under the Saki pseudonym. Munro spent the following years as a prolific and popular short story writer before he was killed during World War I after enlisting as a trooper—despite being past the compulsory age. Several works were published posthumously, including pieces he wrote while on the frontlines of WWI. His best-known stories include "The Open Window," "The Interlopers," and "The Mouse."

Frequently Asked Questions about The Interlopers

The Interlopers

Situational irony is when the opposite of what is expected occurs, while verbal irony is when words mean the opposite of what they seemingly state. The ending of "The Interlopers" uses both...

Latest answer posted May 6, 2021, 11:53 am (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Interlopers

At the beginning of "The Interlopers," we are told that there is a great enmity between the two protagonists, Ulrich and Georg. They hate one another and want to kill one another. It so happens...

Latest answer posted May 7, 2021, 2:25 pm (UTC)

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The Interlopers

The main lesson in Saki's "The Interlopers" concerns the futility of generations-long animosities and desires for vengeance and the desirability of respect and reconciliation. To illustrate this...

Latest answer posted May 6, 2021, 4:12 pm (UTC)

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The Interlopers

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...

Latest answer posted May 6, 2021, 12:13 pm (UTC)

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The Interlopers

“The Interlopers” describes the end of a long-standing interfamily feud resulting from a border dispute over a “narrow strip of precipitous woodland.” The two main characters—Ulrich von Gradwitz...

Latest answer posted May 7, 2021, 4:05 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Interlopers

The story is a kind of fable about the hubris of men. Both characters are so concerned with their feud over the ownership of a strip of forest that they lose sight of the fact that the forest is...

Latest answer posted May 8, 2021, 12:34 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Interlopers

The plot of “The Interlopers” involves a long-standing feud between the Gradwitz family and the Znaeym family. Presently, Ulrich von Gradwitz owns extensive forest property that is bordered by a...

Latest answer posted May 8, 2021, 9:53 pm (UTC)

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The Interlopers

"The Interlopers" takes place during a storm, and the ferocity of the storm reflects the ferocity of the feud between the two main characters, Ulrich and Georg. When the weather is used like this,...

Latest answer posted May 9, 2021, 11:43 am (UTC)

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The Interlopers

A metaphor is a comparison of two unalike things, where one is said to be the other. In the very first paragraph, the narrator uses a simile to compare Ulrich von Gradwitz’s behavior to one who is...

Latest answer posted May 7, 2021, 12:03 pm (UTC)

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The Interlopers

At the beginning of the story, the main character, Ulrich, is walking through the woods and hoping to come across his enemy, Georg Znaeym. He means to kill Georg. When the two characters meet,...

Latest answer posted May 7, 2021, 11:15 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Interlopers

"The Interlopers" is a short story about a long-standing feud between two men, Ulrich and Georg. The feud is over a strip of woodland which both men claim ownership of. The feud is so severe that...

Latest answer posted May 9, 2021, 12:16 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Interlopers

The antagonist of a story is the character who is in conflict with the protagonist, and the protagonist is the main character in the story. The main character in "The Interlopers" is often seen as...

Latest answer posted May 9, 2021, 11:56 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Interlopers

Readers might be tempted to believe that the main conflict in “The Interlopers” is between the two characters, Ulrich von Gradwitz and Georg Znaeym. The families of these men have been feuding for...

Latest answer posted May 7, 2021, 11:48 am (UTC)

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The Interlopers

Ulrich and Georg meet by design and not by chance. Ulrich von Gradwitz has a feeling that Georg Znaeym will be illegally poaching game on his land. He looks on Georg as "game" that will, sooner or...

Latest answer posted May 9, 2021, 2:31 pm (UTC)

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The Interlopers

Ulrich von Gradwitz offers to be Georg Znaeym's friend because his own "pain and languor" as well as the sight of Georg's grim fight "against pain and exhaustion," both of them helplessly trapped...

Latest answer posted May 9, 2021, 1:42 pm (UTC)

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The Interlopers

Ulrich von Gradwitz and Georg Znaeym do not kill each other when they first meet one another in the forest, as they have a sense of decorum and honor instilled in them by their society, and this...

Latest answer posted May 8, 2021, 12:36 pm (UTC)

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The Interlopers

Ulrich von Gradwitz and Georg Znaeym are enemies because of a long-standing feud between their families regarding the ownership and property rights to a "narrow strip" of woodland owned by the...

Latest answer posted May 8, 2021, 12:05 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Interlopers

The motif of nature is introduced in the opening sentence of the story, revealing that a strip of forested land near the Carpathian Mountains will play an important role. The motif of an ominous...

Latest answer posted May 8, 2021, 12:11 pm (UTC)

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The Interlopers

"The Interlopers" is a parable about the costs of greed and prejudice. The feud between the two landowners over a narrow strip of forest has taken on a life of its own. Their personal hatred of...

Latest answer posted May 6, 2021, 12:01 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Interlopers

At the beginning of the story, we are told that Ulrich von Gradwitz has always, since he was a boy, hated and considered Georg Znaeym a mortal enemy. Ulrich patrols the woods and wishes that he...

Latest answer posted May 6, 2021, 12:30 pm (UTC)

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Summary