What are the main events for the story "The Sniper?"

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Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The main events in this story are relatively few. It is full of detail and description, but only a few important things really happen.

First, an Irish Republican sniper waits on a rooftop and eats his sandwich. He considers whether it is safe to smoke. He lights his cigarette, and a gunshot whizzes past. He peeks over the parapet, and another bullet flashes by.

An armored car pulls up, and a woman talks to the man who pops out; she points toward the sniper. It is obvious that she is revealing his location to the soldier. The sniper shoots the man first and then the woman.

When he stands up to take aim, the sniper across the street shoots at him, wounding his arm. He comes up with a plan to kill the other sniper because he has to find a way to escape before morning: he pretends to be dead, dropping his hat and rifle over the side of the building. When the other sniper stands up, believing himself to be victorious, the protagonist shoots him with his revolver.

When he goes to leave, the sniper feels overcome with curiosity about the opposing sniper's identity, so he goes to look. He is shocked to see that the other sniper is actually his brother.

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Liam O'Flaherty's "The Sniper" is a classic action and suspense story set during the Irish Civil War with a surprise ending. A sniper sits on the rooftop of a building pinned down by an enemy sniper on another rooftop across the street. When an old woman in the street below threatens to make his presence known to the enemy, the sniper is forced into action. To protect the secrecy of his presence, he kills both the old woman and the enemy soldier she attempts to inform. However, in the time it takes him to shoot these two individuals, the sniper on the rooftop across the street fires upon him, wounding him the arm. Now the sniper's only chance to survive is to somehow dispose of the enemy sniper across the street and escape the roof before morning. However, unbeknownst to the sniper, the identity of the man on the rooftop across the street complicates the story's resolution.

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