How is the internal conflict in "The Sniper" resolved?

Expert Answers
M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The final paragraph of Liam O'Flaherty's short story "The Sniper" reads:

The sniper darted across the street. A machine gun tore up the ground around him with a hail of bullets, but he escaped. He threw himself face downward beside the corpse. The machine gun stopped.

Then the sniper turned over the dead body and looked into his brother's face.

This is how the story ends: After much efforts trying to survive from an enemy attack, the sniper shoots an enemy, kills him, only to find out that he had just killed his own brother. This is final, and there is no resolution to it. In other words, the internal conflict in the short story "The Sniper" is never resolved.

There can be no resolution to this story, either way. The Irish civil war has been an ongoing movement that has had no ending since its beginnings. In fact, it is a brother versus brother battle that continuously is questioned as far as its real purpose and its actual goal. Since it seems to be a matter of egotism, unfounded causes, and a disproportionate sense of patriotism, it is hard to find a good way to come to any point of agreement. It is as if the war was meant to be, to stay,and to go on. Therefore, the ending of the story clearly shows that there is no resolution: You do what you are told, and you live with it or die from it. There is never a resolution from war. It is just a political machine that never stops its operations.