Examine the veracity of the following idea in "The Sniper:"  "The message of the story is 'War is self consuming."

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The original question had to be edited down.  I think that the statement holds a great deal of veracity.  There is a strong element of consumption and saturation that war has on the sniper.  There is so little of emotional reflection or rumination in terms of our introduction to the sniper.  Rather, the sniper is one shown to be consumed with his mission.  Collateral damage is irrelevant to him.  He is driven with the accomplishment of his mission, taking out the target.  The war has consumed the sniper, to the point where he no longer questions or critically examines why he does what he does.  The sniper is consumed by war, demonstrating its self- consuming nature, in that he does not even show concern for himself.  O'Flaherty suggests that the sniper was "too excited to eat."  It is evident at this point that the war and his purpose in it has consumed himself entirely.  Even when he is shot, the sniper does not seem concerned enough with himself to desist in what he is doing and why he does what he does.  Only when the sniper finishes his mission, when it is too late to avert the responsibility for what was done, does he show some level of self that exists outside of the war.  Yet, it is too late in that the war's consumption of the sniper has already exacted its toll when the sniper recognizes his own role in being his brother's murderer.  It is here where I think that one is able to make the case that the statement is valid in that the story shows war to be a self- consuming entity.