Point of View
“The Interlopers” is written from the third-person omniscient point of view, meaning the narrator sees and knows all. This point of view allows the narrator to present the history of the disputed land, explain how the similar personalities of Georg and Ulrich have brought the feud to a murderous brink, and explain the moral codes that govern the enemies. Each man’s perception of the events that have taken place are presented. Access to the thoughts and feelings of both men alerts the reader that the two are actually more alike than different, which further unites the men in their futile feud and even more futile impending death.
The dialogue in “The Interlopers” is important because it is the means by which the men express their willingness to step away from their feud. Ulrich, speaking first of the desire to “bury the old quarrel,” uses a brief speech to explain why he wants to be done with the past. Georg, in response, explains why he agrees with Ulrich’s idea. The dialogue is also important because it shows a basic connection between these two men, who have shared so much but have never seen eye-to-eye.
The ending of the story is not the real ending; rather, it is the implication of what the end will be. Ulrich first sees what is approaching them, and, when Georg asks what he sees, the answer of “Wolves!” closes the story. With this word, along with Ulrich’s “idiotic chattering laugh of a man unstrung with hideous fear,” the reader clearly understands the terrible death in store for the two men. It is not necessary for Saki to write this ending; its gruesome implication is horrible enough.
Saki personifies elements of the natural world. Nature becomes a violent beast that strikes out at the men for interloping on her territory. She physically knocks them down, felling a tree to attack them. In this portrayal, nature comes to resemble the men. The wind and the trees are also represented as living creatures. The “wind breathes,” and “the trees can’t even stand upright.”
Carol Ullmann (Editor) Short Stories for Students: Presenting Analysis, Context & Criticism on Commonly Studied Short Stories, Volume 15, Saki, Published by Gale, 2002.