What is the clever ploy played in "The Sniper"?  

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mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the short story, "The Sniper" by Liam O'Flaherty, The sniper realizes that when the enemy shoots at him, he now knows the location of the enemy shooter.  Before he can take advantage of this knowledge, he must shoot an old woman in the street who is giving away his position.  When he fires his rifle to kill her, he also gives away his position to the enemy on the opposite rooftop who shoots and wounds the sniper's arm making it useless to use the rifle.  Now the sniper realizes he must kill the other soldier before morning or he himself will die when the enemy finds him on the rooftop.  Therefore, he comes up with a clever ploy to fool the enemy soldier.  He places his cap on the rifle, pushes the rifle above the rooftop so that the enemy can see it and lets the enemy shoot the cap dead center. The sniper then lets the rifle fall over the roof to the ground and his useless arm drape over the roof as if he is  dead.  The enemy, believing the sniper is now dead, makes a fatal error and stands up, enabling the sniper to use his revolver to shoot and kill the enemy soldier. This clever ruse enables the Sniper to escape the trap of the roof, discover the enemy soldier is his brother, and continue living.