The Interlopers

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Class Theme Analysis

Themes and Colors
Power, Property, and Identity Theme Icon
Changing Interlopers Theme Icon
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Interlopers, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Class Theme Icon

Georg is from a lower class than Ulrich. Ulrich sees Georg as a lowly poacher, who should be disposed of, and Georg sees Ulrich as a greedy landowner, who should give up the small patch of forest. When the men reconcile, Georg sees the class barriers between them disappear. He imagines that Ulrich will come and spend the night under his roof, and that he will go and feast in Ulrich’s castle.

The men may be able to make peace because they are trapped alone in the forest, without any observers there to maintain and enforce the social hierarchy. That Georg considers all other men to be “interlopers,” may suggest that he considers the structured social world an unnatural one that infringes upon the natural, equal relationship between him and Ulrich. The predicament of being trapped beneath a tree also equalizes the two men. Despite his wealth, the most Ulrich has to offer is a sip of wine. And despite their different means, neither man is more able to move the tree and prevent his own death, or help the other.

As wolves approach the men at the end of the story, Ulrich laughs like a man “unstrung with hideous fear.” The wolves will not recognize his class, and he understands that his wealth is no protection against nature. When the tree falls and when the wolves approach, nature does not distinguish between Georg and Ulrich, suggesting that class distinctions are artificial, and become irrelevant at the end of life.

Class ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Class appears in each chapter of The Interlopers. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Class Quotes in The Interlopers

Below you will find the important quotes in The Interlopers related to the theme of Class.
The Interlopers Quotes

The forest lands of Gradwitz were of wide extent and well stocked with game; the narrow strip of precipitous woodland that lay on its outskirt was not remarkable for the game it harboured or the shooting it afforded, but it was the most jealously guarded of all its owner's territorial possessions.

Related Characters: Ulrich von Gradwitz

But a man who has been brought up under the code of a restraining civilisation cannot easily nerve himself to shoot down his neighbour in cold blood and without word spoken, except for an offence against his hearth and honour.

Related Characters: Ulrich von Gradwitz, Georg Znaeym
Related Symbols: Rifles, The Beech Tree

In the pain and languor that Ulrich himself was feeling the old fierce hatred seemed to be dying down.

Related Characters: Ulrich von Gradwitz
Related Symbols: The Beech Tree