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What is the Plot of "The Sniper" by Liam O'Flaherty?

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lavoline | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 25, 2010 at 6:58 AM via web

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What is the Plot of "The Sniper" by Liam O'Flaherty?

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sorensentina | High School Teacher | eNoter

Posted February 25, 2010 at 10:20 AM (Answer #1)

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The plot of the short story, "The Sniper" deals with the clash between two opposing groups in Ireland:  the Republicans and the Free States.  It is a civil strife, set in 1922.

Basically, a sniper is on one roof, picking off people as he chooses.  He seems calm at times, but he is also tired of the killing.

Eventually, another sniper, an enemy, discovers his hiding place when the first sniper has shot at an old woman who was giving away his hiding place.

The first sniper is able to trick the second sniper into thinking he has been shot.  When the second sniper stands up on the roof of the house across the way, the first sniper takes aim and kills him.

The first sniper jumps off the roof and his curiosity wins.  He goes over to the dead sniper and when he turns him over, he realizes he has shot his own brother.

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted February 26, 2010 at 8:23 PM (Answer #2)

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In the short story 'The sniper' by Liam O Flaherty, the author shows us a plot that deals with oppression and revolution. The Republicans and the Free Staters are one and the same - it is the British Army they are fighting. The English had a history of invading and taking over Ireland for themselves. They exacerbated the unfairness of this by making it possible for English people/Protestant people only to gain high rank and influence. Many Catholics felt cruelly and unjustly treated and banded together in brotherhoods to fight for a republic. Many knew they would have to sacrifice their own lives to the cause as there were so few of them. The sniper knew this too, but the enemy he ended killing turned out to be a brother.

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