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What is the point of view in Liam O'Flaherty's "The Sniper?"  

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harish16997 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 24, 2012 at 1:57 AM via web

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What is the point of view in Liam O'Flaherty's "The Sniper?"

 

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 24, 2012 at 10:35 PM (Answer #1)

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Liam O'Flaherty's short story, "The Sniper," is written using a third person limited narrator. A third person limited narrator is very different from a third person omniscient narrator. A third person omniscient narrator knows everything about every character depicted in the story. On the other hand, a third person limited narrator only knows everything about one character (typically the protagonist). A third person narrator does not have a part in the text either; he or she is only relaying the story for the reader.

The importance of the third person limited narrator in O'Flaherty's story lies in the ending. Over the course of the text, readers come to know the sniper relatively well. They come to identify him as disciplined, hardened by war, and very good at his job. If a third person omniscient narrator would have been used, readers would have known (dramatic irony) about the identity of the other sniper (the protagonist's brother). This would have ruined the surprise for both the reader and the sniper himself. Given the emotional detachment of the narrator, the shock of the ending proves surprising.

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