The Sniper Questions and Answers
by Liam O’Flaherty

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How does author Liam O'Flaherty create the effect of suspense in The Sniper?

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When the subject of a story is a sniper, a profession to which suspense is integral given the nature of the individual trained to lie motionless for hours at a time until a suitable target appears and to then kill that target, sometimes at considerable distance and at considerable risk to him- or herself, the injection of additional suspense is not particularly difficult. When the "action" takes place in a claustrophobic urban setting in the midst of a civil war, then the development of suspense is even more natural. Such is the case with Liam O'Flaherty's short story The Sniper . O'Flaherty's narrative is inherently suspenseful. The story begins with a brief description of Dublin, Ireland during the period known as "The Troubles," the enduring and bloody conflict between those fighting for independence from the British Crown and a unified Irish State, and those seeking to remain a part of the United Kingdom. At its more basic level, it would evolve into a straightforward war between...

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