How does O'Flaherty use setting in the opening paragraph of "The Sniper" and throughout the story?
The first paragraph of "The Sniper" is a very poetic description of the conditions surrounding the civil war in Ireland. He uses vivid images like:
"long June twilight faded into night" (O'Flaherty)
"Dublin lay enveloped in darkness but for the dim light of the moon that shone through fleecy clouds," (O'Flaherty)
He compares the sound of gunfire with dogs barking, which tends to make it appear ordinary. The familiarity of the setting helps the reader understand that the story concerns a fight between brothers.
The setting helps the reader to feel the intimacy of the battle, like a family argument that turns violent, it is very personal, it is indeed a fight between brothers.
The Irish Civil War was extremely violent and turned families against each other, in many instances. The use of snipers was prevalent, even in the cities, large and small.
The fact that the story occurs at night sets the tone, which is one of foreboding and dread. The reader can sense that something bad will happen in the story very early on. Also, it is very quiet, which adds to the foreboding tone. Snipers also have to be camoflauged because theirs is an attack of surprise with one bullet, so the darkness also is appropriate for the premise of the story.