The Sniper explain with reference to the short story, 'the sniper', how war is self consuming?

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mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe that war is self-consuming as evidenced in the returning war veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.  The need to be constantly alert, never knowing where the next danger lies, or which people are friend or foe take their toll on anyone involved.  In the fictional story, "The Sniper" by Liam O'Flaherty,  the sniper is caught on the rooftop close to dawn, trying to escape from the known danger of another sniper, trying to keep the old woman from pointing out his position, and trying to keep the tank away from him and his roof refuge.  All of these consume his time, attention and skill.  When he actually kills the other sniper, and then finds out that it is his own brother, he reacts, but goes right back into the fray of fighting the war.  That is the ultimate self consuming action--to go right back to war after killing your own brother.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
War changes people. It's a cliche, I know. However the ultimate irony of the story is that the snipers are brothers not just as members of the human race but literally. Each one was so caught up in duty that they destroyed one another. Yes, the sniper killed his brother, but he will never be the same.