In the short story, "The Sniper", do you feel the sniper's opinion about war has changed from the beginning of the story to the end of the story?

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schulzie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The sniper’s opinion of war has definitely changed. O’Flaherty tells the reader that the sniper had,

“…..the eyes of a man who is used to looking at death.” (pg 1)

 At the beginning of the story, the sniper is tired, hungry, and anxious to get off that rooftop.  He knows that if he lights his cigarette, the light might give away his position.  But he doesn't care.  He is tired of playing the game, and he is starting to get careless.

“He paused for a moment, considering whether he should risk a smoke.  It was dangerous.  The flash might be seen in the darkness, and there were enemies watching.  He decided to take the risk.” (pg 1)

After he shoots the enemy and watches the body fall to the ground, he shudders.  This is not the reaction of someone who is “used to looking at death.” (pg 1)

“The lust of battle died in him.  He became bitten by remorse…..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.” (pg 2)

He looks at the revolver in his hand, the revolver that shot that enemy, and throws it to the ground.  It accidently goes off, just missing him, but shocking him back to reality.  However, reality really hit him when he turned over the body of his enemy lying in the street.  It was his own brother.  He was already sick of war to the point that he was having physical reactions to death, but to know that he had killed his own brother would definitely change his opinion of war.

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The Sniper

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