The Sniper Questions and Answers
by Liam O’Flaherty

The Sniper book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What are the climax and resolution of "The Sniper"?

Expert Answers info

Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)


calendarEducator since 2016

write7,344 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

The climax of a story is the moment of the most tension, and it can even be a turning point in the story itself. The conflict between the sniper and his enemies does not come to its most intense point until after the sniper crosses the street, under machine gun fire from his enemy. Turning over the dead body of the other sniper, who he'd killed from the opposite rooftop, the protagonist learns that he has actually shot and killed his own brother.

This is the most intense moment, the turning point in the story: therefore, this is the climax. There is no resolution to the story, just as there can be no resolution for this man who has learned that he's killed his brother, his own flesh-and-blood. The absence of resolution in the story mimics the fact that he will likely never be able to reconcile himself what he has done.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Mike Walter eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2012

write1,473 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

The Sniper” is a story about the Irish Civil War by Liam O’Flaherty. The basic situation and rising action of the story shows a young sniper on a rooftop trying to outmaneuver another sniper on a nearby rooftop. As usual, in the rising action the main character struggles to solve a problem that intensifies and/or changes. In this story, the main character is wounded by the enemy and has to come up with a plan to defeat him.

The climax to the story occurs when the main character tricks the enemy into exposing himself and is able to shoot him dead. At this point, the main character has resolved his primary conflict. To the reader, the significant part of the story seems to be over. However, the writer has a surprise in mind for the reader at the end of the story. In the falling action, which occurs between the climax and the resolution, writers usually show the effect of the climax on the main character. In this story, the main character suddenly, and perhaps surprisingly, suffers remorse over his killing of the enemy. This prepares the reader for the bigger surprise to follow.

Resolutions often provide an ironic twist—something that is surprising or unexpected. In this case, after killing the enemy, the main character leaves the roof and climbs down to the street to look at who he has killed. When he turns over the dead body, he sees that he has killed his brother. This event underscores the nature of civil war—we often have to fight our neighbors or even our own family members.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

clane eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write658 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Science, and Law and Politics

The climax of the story is when the Republican sniper hit the opposing sniper on the opposite rooftop and killed him. He was overjoyed to have made his shot because the two had been waiting to outsmart the other and make the kill. The resolution came when the sniper who made his kill decided that he wanted to look into the face of the man he killed, who was on the side of the civil war that he hated. He became sick when he peered down at the man and realized that he was looking into the face of his brother!

check Approved by eNotes Editorial



lm4242 | Student

The climax of the story is when the Republican sniper kills the enemy sniper.  (same thing as clane's answer)

HOWEVER, there is no resolution in this story, because after the Republican sniper kills the enemy sniper he goes to see the identity of the enemy sniper whom he killed.  When the Republican sniper discovers the enemy sniper he killed is his brother, that is not the resolution.  That is called a DENOUEMENT (a surprise ending).