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“The Sniper”, by Liam O’Flaherty offers several forms of conflict, both internal and external. Of course, the sniper is battling against external forcers in the form of enemy fire. He kills the soldier who prepares to fire at him from an armored car. He also kills the woman on the street, an informant who is apparently working with his opposition. Further, he struggles with internal conflicts, such as hunger, thirst and pain (when the opponent sniper fires a shot into his arm). Still, it is likely that the greatest conflict for the sniper is the civil war. The quotations below illustrate the sniper’s remorse:
Although the sniper hit his target, his response to the shooting is remorseful rather than victorious. (“The sniper looked at his enemy falling and he shuddered. The lust of battle died in him. He became bitten by remorse.”)
Likewise, the streets are clear. He can leave the rooftop without encountering the dangerous bullet fire from his enemies. However, he is dissatisfied and disgusted by his role in the war. (“Weakened by his wound and the long summer day of fasting and watching on the roof, he revolted from the sight of the shattered mass of his dead enemy. His teeth chattered, he began to gibber to himself, cursing the war, cursing himself, cursing everybody.”)
Finally, when he sees the other sniper, dead in the street, his remorse and disgust are heightened by the fact that he has killed his brother. (“Then the sniper turned over the dead body and looked into his brother's face.”) The death of his brother would surely be a loss under any circumstance. However, the realization that he is the responsible party must certainly create greater disdain for his role in the civil war that wrecks his country.
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