Ulrich and Georg both believe that a patch of forest on the edge of Ulrich’s property rightfully belongs to their own, different, families. This family feud has intensified over the past two generations, even though the land is not that large or productive. The fact that Ulrich and Georg, men decades away from being able to determine certain ownership of the forest, take the land dispute even more personally than their grandfathers did suggests that…(read full theme analysis)
The question of who “the interlopers,” or intruders, are permeates this story. At the story’s outset, Ulrich and Georg both see the other as interloper in his forest, and they see other men as interlopers as well. First, Georg says he is glad that he and Ulrich are alone to settle their quarrel without any “interlopers” to get in the way. Georg believes outsiders would interrupt the murderous dispute between the two men, and prevent…(read full theme analysis)
Ulrich’s rifle brings the potential for death into the story’s first sentence, and the threat of death lasts for the duration of the story. Initially, Ulrich and Georg think murdering the other would be victory. Yet, when given the brief chance to shoot the other, both men hesitate, showing that the potential to kill feels different, and perhaps more difficult, once it becomes real.
After a large tree falls on the men, and they…(read full theme analysis)
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…(read full theme analysis)