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In "The Sniper," what type of soldier is our main character?

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juanka123 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 28, 2013 at 12:27 AM via web

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In "The Sniper," what type of soldier is our main character?

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adarshanurag | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted August 28, 2013 at 4:36 AM (Answer #2)

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The Sniper is a soldier in the Republican army. This interesting character of our story is posted on a roof top. This young Irish man was figthing for the Republicans against Free Staters. The republicans wanted south Ireland to be the part of Ireland, whereas  Free Staters wanted themselves to be a free nation. the young Irish sniper was a crackshot. He aimed thrice and hit his desired target thrice. The Sniper was a risky fellow and dare to take dangerous risks. He also had a good thinking mind and was a well trained atheletic sniper. 

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 28, 2013 at 1:35 AM (Answer #1)

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The main character in "The Sniper" is a young Irish man, a member of the Republican army and the setting is Dublin during the Irish Civil War in the early 1920s. What makes the sniper an interesting character is that he is conflicted. He is a young man, almost childlike in being described as having the "face of a student." But that sniper has also become desensitized to violence and has the demeanor and training of a soldier: 

His face was the face of a student, thin and ascetic, but his eyes had the cold gleam of the fanatic. They were deep and thoughtful, the eyes of a man who is used to looking at death. 

From this initial description, the reader has the implication that most or all traces of that youthful innocence are gone and what is left is a trained, desensitized soldier. But, the sniper does snap out of this mentality. After killing the solider in the turret and the old woman (doing so to protect his position and his life), the sniper is hit by the enemy sniper. He then devises a plan to kill his enemy. The plan works. However, after killing the other sniper, he (our main character) changes; he despises violence and is remorseful: 

The lust of battle died in him. He became bitten by remorse. 

But then, he changes back. Throwing down his revolver in disgust, it goes off and when the bullet shoots by his head, the sniper snaps back into that soldier mentality. The sniper is a character conflicted between his job as a soldier and his conscience that war and violence are deplorable. 

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