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How does the story address about the fundamental truths of human condition?

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user2263810 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 3, 2013 at 5:47 AM via web

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How does the story address about the fundamental truths of human condition?

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 3, 2013 at 2:21 PM (Answer #1)

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The human condition that is featured in the story is one in which human change results in rejection of previously held values.  The sniper is a partisan who fundamentally believes in the cause.  He is driven to take out his target.  The sniper believes in what he is doing and is committed to this cause.  Yet, the fundamental truth of the human condition emerges once this goal has been accomplished:

The sniper looked at his enemy falling and he shuddered. The lust of battle died in him. He became bitten by remorse. The sweat stood out in beads on his forehead. Weakened by his wound and the long summer day of fasting and watching on the roof, he revolted from the sight of the shattered mass of his dead enemy. His teeth chattered, he began to gibber to himself, cursing the war, cursing himself, cursing everybody.

This passage indicates a fundamental truth of the human condition.  It is one in which knowledge results in suffering.  There is the reality that had dawned on the sniper, one that makes him "bitten by remorse."  It is a condition in which the sniper realizes the futility of his beliefs.  It is here in which a fundamental human truth is evoked.  In the end, human beings have to reflect and think about why they do what they do.  Such knowledge and introspection is painful.  Yet, not engaging in it results in greater pain, as the above passage and ending both represent.

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