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Interlopers plot analysis

Robert Trahan 10/3/96

English Mod 3

"The Interlopers" plot analysis.

Saki's novella, "The Interlopers", explores the intricacies of friendship and rivalry.

The story takes place in a European forest one night during the winter. The setting of the

story is analogous to the plot; the trees have to bind together for warmth to brave the

fierce winter, the same way Ulrich and George have to work together to survive. The

exposition does a wonderful job of building suspense by telling of the feud between the

two families. The feeling of impending doom increases as Georg and Ulrich hunt each

other in the dark forest. The suspense comes to a boiling point when the men meet and

stare at each other with the intent to kill. But neither shoots. "The chance had come to

give full play to the passions of a lifetime. But 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, except for an offense against his hearth and

honor." (p. 44) Just as both are about to shoot, a tree branch from above crashes upon

the men. The feeling of suspense flees, and a feeling of sorrow and pity for Georg and

Ulrich fills one's heart. The reader feels immense sympathy for the situation: how many

times in one's own life has a mere squabble gotten out of control and wrecked everything?

The men lay, crippled beneath the tree in the cold and realize the foolishness of their ways.

Ulrich says to Georg, "Neighbor, do as you please if your men come first. It was a fair

compact. But as for me, I've changed my mind. If my men are the first to come you shall

be the first to be helped..." (p. 45) The men continue to talk, and they reconcile. But in a

strange twist of fate, wolves come and devour them both before they can be freed by their

men. The message Saki was trying to get across was this: why fight over something petty

when one can be friends?

Source: Essay UK -

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