In this story "The Sniper", does the sniper experience internal or external conflict? 

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In this story, the sniper experiences both internal and external conflict.   The external conflict demands most of the events in the story.  He is in a civil war in Ireland, and other soldiers are shooting at him.

“Placing a cigarette between his lips, he struck a match, inhaled the smoke...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

In this story, the sniper experiences both internal and external conflict.   The external conflict demands most of the events in the story.  He is in a civil war in Ireland, and other soldiers are shooting at him.

“Placing a cigarette between his lips, he struck a match, inhaled the smoke hurriedly and put out the light.  Almost immediately, a bullet flattened itself against the parapet of the roof.” (pg 1)

He is in a battle with soldiers on the other side of the street.  When he is in battle mode, he doesn’t appear to have any internal conflict.  He knows that his situation is kill or be killed. When an armored car arrives, he easily kills the man in the turret as well as the woman who pointed out his position.  She was jeopardizing his life, and he had to eliminate her.

When he kills the other sniper, and his life is relatively safe, he starts to have an internal conflict. 

“The lust for 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 (talk incoherently) to himself, cursing the war, cursing himself, cursing everybody.” (pg 2)

He starts to relax from the battle, and head to his company commander to report when he decides to take a look at his opponent, the other sniper he had shot.  He respected him because he had been a good shot.  When he turns the body over, he sees that he shot his brother.  Although the author ends the story at that point, the reader can imagine the internal conflict he had after that experience. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team