In "The Sniper" by O'Flaherty, how does the author show the theme using literary devices?

The author uses a simile and a pun to suggest the theme of evil.

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The sniper's arm has been hit. After dealing with the turret soldier and the old woman (informer), he comes up with a plan to trick the enemy sniper. The plan works. As the sniper prepares to take out his enemy, he feels the pain in his arm. The author uses...

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The sniper's arm has been hit. After dealing with the turret soldier and the old woman (informer), he comes up with a plan to trick the enemy sniper. The plan works. As the sniper prepares to take out his enemy, he feels the pain in his arm. The author uses a simile to describe it.

The distance was about fifty yards—a hard shot in the dim light, and his right arm was paining him like a thousand devils.

The pain is "like a thousand devils." He could have said "like a thousand pins," but he invokes devils and this suggests something evil. The pain is evil. The pain is punishment for the sniper's sins. Every wound and every death in this war is tainted with some sense of evil. Any of these are valid interpretations of the simile.

After killing his enemy, the sniper is bitten by remorse. He throws down his revolver in disgust, it goes off, and he comes back to his soldierly senses. 

Taking the whiskey flask from his pocket, he emptied it a drought. He felt reckless under the influence of the spirit. 

Note the pun on "spirit." It describes the whiskey as well as the idea of being influenced by some spirit. In this case, this might be another suggestion of a devilish spirit, something that gives him that "cold gleam of the fanatic."

This simile and this pun both suggest the element of evil. It is something that emerges in war. The physical (and emotional) pain of experiencing war invokes "devils." To become "used to looking at death," the sniper must desensitize himself, as if he's been under the influence of a "spirit."

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