The Interlopers Essay Questions

Essay Questions

  1. 1

    What is the point of view adopted by the author in “The Interlopers” and why is that choice essential to the success of the presentation?

    A third-person omniscient POV is the perspective that the author has decided would be the most effective and efficient means of relating the narrative. The perspective provides the opportunity for the reader to gain objective entry into both sides of the disagreement which lies at the heart of the story. In addition, the choice of omniscient third person perspective also gives the writer greater freedom for delving into unspoken thoughts and history which shape their respective personalities. The crux of what plot exists in the story is utterly dependent on the issue of how individual and subjective perceptions serve to influence the construction of objective historical fact. By engaging a point of view that presents both perception fairly and equally, the reader is handed the power to make any final assumptions and judgments.

  2. 2

    Who might the titular interlopers of this story be?

    As the story opens, it is clear that both Ulrich and Georg view the other as the real interloper into the forest each sees as his own. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that despite this enormous chasm separating them, the two men also share a common bond that unites them: both target any other men entering into their land as interlopers. The potentially tragic turn of events that eventually closes that wide gap separating them introduces an unexpected twist on the question of just who the interlopers might actually be: as the wolves close in on them, Ulrich and Georg come to be seen an intruders outside the natural order of the forest trying vainly to assert their dominance.

  3. 3

    How is the beech tree an example of a paradoxical symbol?

    The beech tree that falls in the forest makes quite a loud symbolic sound. On the one hand, the timing of its falling bring cosmic order to a random universe by finally forcing the men to confront each other face to face with no opportunity to escape resolving their conflict. At the same time, being pinned beneath the tree prevents either from bringing about a cataclysmic premature resolution through the use of violence since neither can gain access to their rifles. At the same time, that very timing of the tree falling when it does is also a paradoxical confirmation of the random quality of the natural world to frustrate the best laid plans of mice and men with guns.

  4. 4

    Briefly explain how the outbreak of World War I creates context for fully understanding the story.

    The imperialist struggles for territory as means for consolidating power as the old aristocratic system began to fade away in the late 1800’s is recreated in microcosm in the struggle over land between the aristocratic landowner Ulrich and the middle-class Georg. The enmity between the two stretches back over time to form an actual feud spanning more than a single generation, thus creating a direct reference to the centuries of political intrigue, skirmishes and outright war between European nations as the balance of power continually shifted. Boiled down to its essentials, the feud pits the old-war imperialist aims of Ulrich to assert his ownership over as much land as he grab against the simple desire of George to realize a sense of independence from the past. This make “The Interlopers” an incisive interpretation—on a much more modest scale—of the complex series of events that led to the outbreak of war between the historically powerful nation-states of the past and more loosely organized ethnic groups seizing on the rare opportunity to declare their independence from the oppression of the past.

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