Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

The Interlopers: Are You Ready to Rumble?

Conflict, Motivation, and Setting

Polly Base, Lindsey Link | Published: May 18th, 2022 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 9th, 10th, 11th
  • Subject Subject English/Language Arts
  • Course Course A.P. Literature and Composition, British Literature, World Literature
  • Time Frame Time Frame 180-200 minutes
  • Duration More 3-4


Students will read and analyze the short story "The Interlopers." They will determine multiple themes throughout the story, compare character motivation, and evaluate the effects of setting on the story. Using a similar format, students will research a popular “feud” in contemporary culture or history in order to determine the reasons behind real-life conflict. Students will be asked to consider the motivations of each individual and the effects of setting on the conflict, as well as suggest the steps needed for reconciliation.

Essential Question(s)

How do motivation and setting impact conflict for fictional/non-fictional characters?



Students listen to a song from the contemporary musical “Hamilton” and engage in a discussion using the Roundabout Conversations strategy.


Students read “The Interlopers” by Saki and complete a Categorical Highlighting strategy.


Students define “interloper” and analyze motivation, conflict, and the impact of setting on the characters.


Students research real-life vendettas and choose a genre to present their findings about the feud.


Students respond to an Exit Ticket about conflict resolution. The presentation can also be used as an evaluation or assessment.


  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • Famous Feuds (attached)

  • Definition of Interloper Student Copy (attached; one per student)

  • Definition of Interloper Differentiated Student Copy (attached; one per student as needed)

  • The Interlopers Choice Board (attached)

  • Project Rubric (attached)

  • Exit Ticket (attached)

  • The Room Where It Happens Lyrics (attached)

  • Copy of “The Interlopers” by Saki (attached; one per student)

  • Computer

  • WiFi or Internet Connection

  • Highlighters (pink, yellow, blue, and green)

  • Notebook paper

  • Notecard or sticky notes


20 Minute(s)

Using the attached Lesson Slides, display slide 3. Post the essential question on the board as students enter the room, and read to the students at the beginning of class.

Show slide 4. Review the lesson objectives.

Move to slide 5. Instruct the students to take out a sheet of notebook paper, and write the following words across the top of the page:

  • Who

  • What

  • Why

  • Where

Have students listen to the music video of “The Room Where It Happens,” from the musical Hamilton. Assign students to read the lyrics as they come across the screen and specifically focus on the following:

  • Who is in conflict?

  • What is the conflict?

  • Why is the conflict an issue?

  • Where does the problem take place?

  • How does the setting impact the conflict?

Show slide 6. As students listen to the song and read the lyrics, remind students to jot down their thoughts as they are listening. After the song concludes, give the students a few minutes to finish writing.

Show slide 7, followed by slide 8. Explain the Roundabout Conversations strategy to the students. Split the class into two circles, an inner and outer. Instruct the outer circle to walk clockwise, the inner circle to walk counterclockwise as you play the video a second time.

Set the timer when Round 1 starts. Stop the music and instruct the students to turn and talk to a partner in the other circle. Each time the music stops, students will have a new partner. Tell students they may use their notes and song lyrics to answer five questions for thought. Advise students that their conversations are timed.

  1. Who were the individuals in conflict with one another?

  2. What was the conflict?

  3. Why was this conflict an issue?

  4. Where did the problem(s) take place?

  5. How does the setting impact the conflict?

Show slides 9-13, one at a time. Advise students they will participate in five rounds. Conduct five rounds (slides 9-13).

Show slide 14. Invite students to discuss the answers to the questions as a class.

Show slide 15. Review the lesson objectives.


40 Minute(s)

Show slide 16. Pass out copies of the attached The Interlopers by Saki—a Short Story by Saki handout.

As the story is introduced, encourage students to take notes on the author, Saki, and the short story “The Interlopers.” Begin to read the story aloud or use an audio version (like this one on CommonLit that is 12:20 min. long) or (if preferred) a preferred more dramatic version such as the one by Billy Wells (14:45 long).

Show slide 17. Instruct students to find a partner or assign student pairs for a rereading of the text. Pass out pink, green, yellow, and blue highlighters. Explain the instructional strategy Categorical Highlighting. Instruct students to highlight the following in the text and discuss as they read:

  • Pink—Theme

  • Blue—Character Motivation

  • Green—Description of the Setting

  • Yellow—Unknown Vocabulary

Show slide 18 or slide 19 to model writing in the margin “why” they highlighted that particular text.


60 Minute(s)

Show slide 20, or write the labels man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. self, and man vs. society on the board. As a class, discuss these types of conflict. Determine which parts of the story display each. Write the examples from the text beside each label.

Show slide 21. Instruct the students to join their partners for a Think-Pair-Share activity.

Show slide 22. Pass out the attached Interloper Defined handout (notice both copies: a standard version and a differentiated learning version). Together, partners should define “interloper” based on context clues from the story. They must determine who the interlopers are in the story through rich conversations using textual evidence to prove each character or group is an interloper.  Encourage students to consider many points of view.

Show slide 23. Have students answer questions about conflict, motivation, and setting with their partner on page two of the handout. Assign one of the main characters to each of the students: Ulrich von Gradwitz or Georg Znaeym. Instruct the students to answer the following questions as if they were the character that they were assigned:

  • What is the conflict as perceived by (Character/Individual)_________________?

  • What is the motivation of (Character/Individual)_________________?

  • What is the setting? 

  • What effect does the setting have on the (Character/Individual)_________________?

Assign each partner to share and discuss their observations, including textual evidence with their partner, using sentence stems such as: “Paragraph ____ states _______.”

Show slide 24. Instruct students to work with their partners to write a reflection statement summarizing their observations about the effects of the setting on both characters.

Return to the class discussion and have a few partner groups share their reflection answers with the class. Focus the discussion on the effects of setting on each character's motivation. 

Show slide 25. Ask students to watch the film adaptation of the short story. Play “The Interlopers: A Short Film.” (The video is 10:33 long.)


60 Minute(s)

Show slide 26. Inform students that they will research a real-life vendetta or feud. Have them briefly brainstorm some famous feuds as a whole class. Next, display the attached handout, Famous Feuds, or pass a copy out to each student.

Instruct students to choose a feud that they want to research. As they research their famous feud, advise them to consider the following:

  • Describe the argument between the opposing sides;

  • Connect evidence to each side’s claim;

  • Provide a resolution to the problem.

Show slide 27. Once students are ready to wrap up their research, explain the instructions on how to present the information.

Show slide 28. Review each of the options included in the attached Choice Board. Additionally, pass out the attached Project Rubric. Inform students that they will take the research and develop a unique piece of writing that explains their famous feud to their classmates.

Show slide 29 as a placeholder during student presentations. Consider having them share using an application such as Flip if you are stretched for time, or share them in class if time allows.


15 Minute(s)

Show slide 30. Pass out a notecard or sticky note, and instruct students to respond to the following question as their Exit Ticket out the door: What do you think it takes to resolve a conflict?