The Sniper Questions and Answers
by Liam O’Flaherty

The Sniper book cover
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In "The Sniper", how would you format the summary below into a topic sentence? I need help on how to put this bit of the plot into this format topic sentence, point, evidence, comment. Gunfire from the opposite roof then wounds the sniper in the arm. He drops his rifle as blood oozes from his wound, although he feels no pain. His arm is numb. He opens a first-aid kit and drips iodine onto the wound. Now there is pain. Then he places cotton on the wound, bandages it, and thinks of a plan to escape. With his only revolver to defend himself with.Suddenly a plan occurs to him, and he puts it to the test immediately. Placing his cap on the muzzle of his rifle, he pushes the rifle slowly upward over the parapet, almost immediately a bullet pierced the cap. The sniper tilts the weapon so that the cap falls onto the street. Then he hangs his left hand limply over the roof, pretending to the other sniper that he is dead. A moment later, he drops the rifle to the street and slumps to the roof, dragging his hand back over the parapet.After crawling to a new position, he peeks out and sees his enemy standing up and looking across, apparently believing he killed the IRA man.  He then brings his revolver into position, holds his breath, and fires. The enemy reels on the roof, drops his rifle to the street, and falls to the pavement.    

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I would have to say that the answer to this question depends a lot on what you are actually trying to say. What is the point that you are trying to argue? It seems you have started off the wrong way round - you appear to be taking a summary of the story and then looking at how to include it in your essay. This is a great way to ensure that you get low marks. What you need to do is work out your thesis statement on this piece and then your points that go towards proving it. Then, when you have done this, you can back up your thesis statements and your points by referring to specific quotes that support your points. Then, lastly, you can comment on those quotes, making it absolutely crystal clear how they support your points.

For example:

In "The Sniper", the author uses suspense as a key tool to maintain reader interest and convey the life-and-death struggle of the rooftop battle that is progressing. For example, note how the sudden shot from the opposing sniper is used to heighten the tension and suspense as we wait desperately to find out what will happen to the sniper:

Suddenly from the opposite roof a shot rang out and the sniper dropped his rifle with the curse... He stopped to pick the rifle up. He couldn't lift it. His forearm was dead.

Note how the word "Suddenly" quickens the pace as the author describes the shot, and also note the detail given about the wound the sniper has received and the fact he is unable to use his rifle. We are left wondering, just like the sniper, how on earth he is going to escape this new threat alive.

Hopefully you can identify a structure above - I call it point, proof and deduction, but you can use your topic paragraph structure too. Good luck!

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