The Sniper By Liam O ' Flaherty Essays

The Sniper By Liam O ' Flaherty Essays

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“The Sniper,” by Liam O’Flaherty is a short story of a Republican sniper and his struggle for survival during wartime. The story details the civil war involving the Republicans and the Free Staters in Dublin, Ireland. The distinction between Republicans and Free Staters is their opposing view on the separation and unification of Ireland. The Republicans favored the unification of Ireland ;whereas, the Free staters did not (2011, June 1). Liam O’Flaherty served in the Irish Guards and was no stranger to the devastation of war (2015). In the story, the civil war divided families, brother v. brother, each fighting for a cause they believed in. The writings of Liam O’Flaherty in “The Sniper” indicate his disillusionment towards war.
The story begins in the cover of darkness, on a rooftop in Dublin, Ireland. A Republican sniper, fighting in the Irish Civil War, contemplates the risk of lighting a cigarette, knowing that the flash of light could potentially expose his position. He decides to take that risk and reveals his position to an enemy sniper on an adjacent rooftop. This exposure was confirmed when a bullet flew by his head barely missing him. The plot thickens when the Republican sniper watches an armoured vehicle come down the street and is approached by an elderly woman described as an informer. Knowing his position was about to be exposed again, the sniper shot the driver and the informant as she was trying to run away.
Despite just killing two people, the Republican Sniper had no time to reflect. He suddenly felt tremendous pain in his arm as he discovered he had been shot by the enemy sniper. His circumstances were now compromised as he could no longer hold his rifle. He combined his war experience and ...


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...n the sniper felt foreshadows the stories’ ending. It only becomes more personal to him when the identity of the enemy sniper becomes known.
As we have seen, war can affect the way one thinks and acts. A person at war does not have the luxury of contemplating the ramifications of murder. The only thing on their mind is killing the enemy before the enemy kills them. Just as the sniper was blinded to the reality that he committed murder, soldiers are trained to fight for their cause even though many lives are lost. Civil war especially has negative impacts as it destroys families. Brothers are turned against each other, neighbor kills neighbor all because of an opposing view. The injustice of war seems especially evident in “The Sniper” when he realizes his victory has caused him endless turmoil. The moment he realizes he has just killed his father’s son.

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