Homework Help

In "The Sniper," examine the significance of the author not naming the characters in...

user profile pic

user4868817 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 13, 2013 at 1:06 PM via web

dislike 1 like

In "The Sniper," examine the significance of the author not naming the characters in the story.

2 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

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

Posted September 15, 2013 at 1:53 PM (Answer #2)

dislike 1 like

"The Sniper" is concerned with illuminating a universal condition of war.  In order to maximize this, O'Flaherty does not use names and specific identities to the characters.  Through this stylistic element, there is a universality that can be seen in the story.  The old woman who is killed in the crossfire could be anyone.  The two snipers are essentially people who are poised against one another in the charged atmosphere of civil war.  There is a universality in such a construction that is enhanced in not naming the characters.  They can apply to any context throughout the world, and not merely Ireland.  Ireland gives context to a universal condition in which people engage in war without reflection of the consequences until it is too late.  

In operating within a universal condition for his characters and their situation, O'Flaherty is able to make war a sad condition that all human beings endure and to which connection can be made.  The dehumanization that war causes is a universal condition that is enhanced by the lack of specific names in "The Sniper."

Sources:

user profile pic

jmpk2011 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 13, 2013 at 3:41 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

One of the reasons why authors don't name their characters is to allow the readers to imagine themselves in the characters' places.  By leaving the name of the character unknown, the author allows the reader a degree of authorship.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes