Compare and Contrast Cranes and Interlopers Essay Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  912 Words
Date:  2022-11-21

Cranes and The Interlopers have overlapping themes and presentations. Hwang Sun-won's Cranes is set in a Korean village in the 38th parallel during the Korean war and focuses on the relationship between two friends. Two childhood friends are reunited, one as captive, the other as an officer tasked with escorting him to Ch'ongdan. Saki's The Interlopers involves two men who are embroiled in an age-old feud over land. Despite attempts to settle the dispute between their families, the two pick up from their parents, with each hoping that misfortune befalls the other. When the opportunity finally presents itself for either party to act, they both get trapped. What follows is a brief period of reconciliation. There are a number of similarities and differences between these two texts.

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There are a number of similarities. First, the characters involved have differences or feuds which are settled. In Cranes, Tokchae is appointed to a political organization by the northerners which makes him a marked man being in the south. He is captured. When his childhood friend, who is among the officers notices him, he asks, "If you were vice-chairman of the Communist League, why didn't you run? You must have been lying low with a secret mission" (Sun-Won 167). However, after much probing, they get to understand each other's situations and later get back to being friends. In The Interlopers, Ulrich von Gradwitz and Georg Znaeym are entangled in a personal feud which grew out of an age-old inter-family conflict over land. The two men pursue each other in the dark, baying for each other's blood. Before either of them could harm the other, "a deed of Nature's own violence overwhelmed them both' (Munro 84). In their moment of helplessness, they overcome their hate, become friends and they cannot wait to experience, "the wonderful changes that this dramatic reconciliation would bring about" (Munro 87).

In both stories, conflict arises out of the struggle to protect a regional boundary. In the Crane, the conflict is between two citizens. North Korea invades South Korea. However, inhabitants of the 38th parallel are set up against each other. Tokchae is appointed the vice-chairman of the Communist League which is a political instrument of the North. Songsam represents the authorities of the south as an officer. He is therefore tasked with arresting and forwarding all inhabitants of the 38th parallel who pay allegiance to the north. It is their responsibility to prevent their country from invasion. This sets the two against each other. However, when Tokchae confirms that, "I'm still what I used to be - the only thing I'm good at is tilling the soil" Songsam probes him further and is convinced that he does not act on behalf of the invaders (Sun-Won 167). A similar script plays out in The Interlopers. The Znaeym had dispossessed the von Gradwitz of a chunk of forest land from which they hatred arose. On the night of their meeting, both parties conduct a patrol to check the presence of the other in the disputed parcel.

The two stories also exhibit a number of differences. Foremost, whereas in the Interlopers the characters attempt to kill each other, no such attempts are made in Cranes. When Ulrich and Znaeym met in the woods, "each had hate in his heart and murder uppermost in his mind" (Munro 83). In fact, the motivating factor behind their hunt for each other was to end each other's lives. For a brief period before tragedy strikes and both find themselves stuck under a mas of a beech tree. Despite their sorry state, Georg wishes Ulrich were already dead from the impact of the tree. Georg wishes that his men become the first responders so that after they rescue him, he can pull the entire mass of trunk over Ulrich. This is different to what plays out Songsam and Tokchae whose interaction is filled with Songsam's curiosity about how Tokchae might have transformed into an enemy.

The second difference is that, while in both texts the characters make peace, it can be inferred that the characters in The Interlopers all die while those of the Cranes both end alive. At the end of the story, Songsam and Tokchae travel back to their childhood memories. They remember tying a crane which they later release when they notice it is weak and wounded (Campbell 3). At that particular time, Songsam unties his friend, and noticing that his friend was offering him a second chance, Tokchae takes off. Things are however different between Ulrich and Georg. After their moment of reconciliation, they hope that their teams arrive and rescue them from the weight of the tree. However, this is not the case as only wolves speed towards their direction giving them no hope for life.


There exists a balance between similarities and differences in the way that both texts are presented. In both, the major theme is a relationship and how it overcomes circumstances. While handling this theme, each text narrows down to two characters who undergo a period of conflict followed by a period of understanding and reconciliation. The conflicts in each of these texts begin differently with one beginning from a point of hate while another from a point of curiosity. The fates of the characters involved are equally different.

Works Cited

Campbell, Sarah. "Teaching Korean Culture and History through Korean Literature." Education About Asia 17.2 (2012).

Munro, Hector Hugh. "The Interlopers." Collected short stories of Saki. Wordsworth Editions, 1993.

Sun-Won, Hwang, and Peter H. Lee. "Cranes." Manoa 20.1 (2008): 166-169.

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Compare and Contrast Cranes and Interlopers Essay Example. (2022, Nov 21). Retrieved from

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