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In O' Flaherty's "The Sniper," examine the character traits of the protagonist.

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syeda1997 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted February 23, 2013 at 6:33 PM via web

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In O' Flaherty's "The Sniper," examine the character traits of the protagonist.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 23, 2013 at 7:53 PM (Answer #1)

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The protagonist's character traits that are initially seen in the short story are ones that reflect total commitment to the cause.  The sniper is singularly focused on his mission.  There is nothing else in his being.  His mission, commitment to the cause, and belief in the authenticity of what he is doing are all traits of the sniper.  He sacrifices eating, comfort, and even endures physical pain of being shot in the desire to fulfill his mission.  The sniper is driven with his life of being a soldier.  This is immediately contrasted with how he is upon shooting the enemy sniper.  It is at this point in which the sniper becomes remorseful, filled with anger and futility about his action.  In this, the traits of the sniper are opposite from what they were before his shooting of the enemy.  The characterization of the sniper becomes complex and his traits become reflective of this change in character.  The ending in which the sniper has realized that he has killed his own brother bring a level of gravity to his character traits.  The soldier filled with doubts about the life in which he has led become the dominant set of traits that define the sniper by the end of the narrative.

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