Discuss "The Sniper" as an anti-war story.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is in the ending in which one can see "The Sniper" as a strong anti- war story.  After the sniper has accomplished his mission and taken out the opposing target, there is a sense of triumph in his demeanor.  He skitters across the street to examine his target and, essentially, to look at what he has done.  It is in this moment where the pivot towards the story being an anti- war statement becomes evident:

The sniper looked at his enemy falling and he shuddered. The lust of battle died in him. He became bitten by remorse.  The sweat stood out in beads on his forehead. Weakened by his wound and the long summer day of fasting and  watching on the roof, he revolted from the sight of the shattered mass of his dead enemy. His teeth chattered, he began  to gibber to himself, cursing the war, cursing himself, cursing everybody.

The language at this point describing the sniper's feelings is heavily anti- war. The "lust of battle died" and the sniper "became bitten by remorse."  The sniper "revolted at the sight of the shattered mass of his dead enemy" and began "cursing the war, cursing himself, cursing everybody."  This language is emphasizing the oneness of humanity, something that the sniper, immersed in way, had denied.  The sniper realizes that there is little difference between he and the target.  No political declarations of war or national allegiances can save him at this moment.  There is nothing external that can replace the pain he feels at the revelations of what he has done in the name of war.  Add to this how the sniper hurls his weapon away from him and that he recognizes the target to be his brother, and the story takes a decidedly anti- war turn as it emphasizes the oneness of humanity, a condition that all war denies.