"The Wave" by Liam O'Flaherty is presented in the narrative form of a short story. However, there are no human characters. Instead, the characters are elements of nature: the cliff, the reefs, the smaller waves, and the overwhelming massive titular wave.
The author first gives readers a description of the scene to prepare them for what is to come. There is a 200-foot cliff, at the base of which is a cave carved out by the constant pounding of the waves of the sea. The cliff has a semicircular shape, and at both edges are jagged, seaweed-covered reefs that jut out into the water. It has taken thousands of years for the waves to form the cave at the cliff's base.
The impact of the waves on the cliff is tempered by the tide. When the tide is low, the waves have less effect, but when the tide is high, the waves pound the cliff relentlessly. Once this background has been set, O'Flaherty describes one immense overwhelming wave that appears at high tide, gathers its power, and smashes against the cliff with such terrific force that it causes the cliff to fracture and then collapse.
In this story, the author presents nature as a relentless and inexorable force that will eventually break down anything in its way. To accomplish this, he uses language full of power and purpose. He also frequently uses anthropomorphic expressions. For instance, he writes early on that the sea "had eaten up" part of the cliff. The red seaweed on the reefs is "sucked stiffly by each fleeing wave." As the waves come into the cove, they are "chasing one another, climbing over one another's backs, spitting savage columns of green and white water vertically." They cross the flat rock "in one monstrous stride." Their sound is like "the heavy breathing of a gluttonous giant." All these are human attributes that O'Flaherty gives the waves. The final giant wave that destroys the cliff is like a monster with "fangs" that hurls forward "to ram the cliff" while it hisses and roars.