“The Interlopers” Discussion Questions

The forest classroom of Gradwitz were of wide extent and well stocked with “Interlopers” discussion questions; the narrow strip of portables that lay on its outskirt was not remarkable for the students it harboured or the teaching comforts it afforded, but it was the most jealously guarded of all the school’s territorial possessions. A famous law suit over “The Interlopers” discussion questions and answers, in the days of old principal Saki, had wrested the questions from the illegal possession of a neighbouring family of petty landowners and brought to me so I could share them with you.

How Can I Use These Discussion Questions?

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I’m not a huge fan of read the story and answer the study questions types of assignments. In fact, if you check out my “Interlopers” lesson plans and activities, you’ll notice I prefer graphic organizers that lend themselves to more in depth class discussions.

That being said, it’s always nice to have a handy set of discussion questions nearby just in case the conversation stalls, in class reading gets a little stale, or your administrator who hasn’t taught since 1973 walks in and thinks discussion questions and a yard stick are the only tools a teacher needs.

Discussion Questions for “The Interlopers” by Saki

  1. Explain the feud between the two families. What caused it? Why has it continued for so long? And just how stupid is it that the two are fighting over a worthless piece of land?
  2. The story’s title becomes a predominant theme in the short story. Who or what plays the role of an interloper throughout the story?
  3. Saki is a master of irony. Identify at least 3 examples of irony from “The Interlopers.”
  4. What is it about being trapped under a giant tree in the middle of winter with your sworn enemy as blood trickles down your face that brings people together?
  5. Can the stupidity of this feud be applied to modern conflict or is this question-asker oversimplifying things?
  6. Just how horrible would it be to be trapped under a tree as you watch a pack of wolves gnaw on your intestines as you hover between life and death?

Possible Answers for “The Interlopers” Study QuestionsCaptain Irony

  1. The feud originated over a minor land dispute. The judge ruled on it but his ruling did not satisfy the losing party. Georg and Ulrich have escalated the feud for no other reason than they feel they’re supposed to dislike each other. Both claim the dispute is over a piece of land, but their reasoning makes no sense since the slice of land in question isn’t even that nice. That’s irony.
  2. Interlopers in the story include the protagonist and antagonist, the tree, the helpers of Georg and Ulrich, the wolves. Note how some interlopers act for good and others do not.
  3. It’s ironic that the two men are fighting over a worthless strip of land. It’s ironic that the two become best friends after the tree falls on them. It’s ironic that nobody will ever know that peace was made.
  4. There’s a little word called empathy that brings an end to conflict. You’ve no doubt heard the expression don’t judge another man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. In this case Georg and Ulrich are put in the same exact position and amazingly become friends because they can relate to each other and see each other as human.
  5. Many modern feuds have their roots in ancient grudges. Combatants in many modern day feuds aren’t even exactly sure why they hate each other other than they’re supposed to.
  6. It would suck.

 

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