• What details does the author provide to identify the setting of the story in Paragraphs 1 & 2?

  • In Paragraph 8 & 9, an old woman is introduced. How does the sniper's interaction with this character develop the story's theme?

  • How does the author's choice to withhold details regarding the fate of the man in the turret of the car and the old woman until Paragraph 15 contribute to the suspense in the text?

  • What is the connection between the sniper's "ruse" and the enemy being hit? How does this event advance the story's plot?

  • How do the sniper's seemingly contradictory "cry of joy" and feeling of "remorse" contribute to the character's development?

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    This question is asking multiple questions; therefore, I would like to focus on question number two. Question number two asks about a character, her characterization , and how she relates to a theme. The woman is introduced in a similar way to how all of the other characters are introduced....

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    This question is asking multiple questions; therefore, I would like to focus on question number two. Question number two asks about a character, her characterization, and how she relates to a theme. The woman is introduced in a similar way to how all of the other characters are introduced. She is essentially a nameless and faceless participant in the war. Neither of the snipers are named, the woman is not named, and the man in the turret is not named. This is important to note because the story is treating everybody alike. To the main sniper, everybody is a target to be eliminated from the battlefield. He sees enemies that can compromise his own life, so the concept of women being exempt is foreign to him. Thematically, this shows some of the mental effects of war and how it dehumanizes people. The sniper is so used to looking at death, that he isn't treating those other people like people with lives and families. They are targets and nothing more, and that shows how dehumanizing war can make people. The war has dehumanized the sniper as well. He sees himself as a sniper. He is a specific tool and weapon of the war to be efficiently wielded. He isn't a fellow human on the battlefield, and that is why he can kill with little to no remorse.

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    The setting of Liam O'Flaherty's short story "The Sniper" is the city of Dublin during the Irish Civil War. The Republican sniper is on a rooftop not far from the Four Courts government building and the River Liffey. The story is set during the week long Battle of Dublin in the summer of 1922. The calm summer night is interrupted by the sounds of "machine guns and rifles." The war involved a disagreement over whether Ireland should remain in the British Commonwealth. Republicans wanted total sovereignty and Free-Staters wanted to ratify the treaty with England.  

    The old woman is labeled as an "informer" and is pointing out the rooftop where the sniper is hidden. The sniper shoots her and the armored car commander who foolishly emerges from the car to give the sniper a target. The theme is the senseless nature of war and even civilians can be casualties in this brutal struggle. O'Flaherty develops suspense by placing more action between the initial shooting of the woman and the armored car commander and the description of their dead bodies. He is sidetracked by the attack from the Free-State sniper who shoots him in the right forearm.

    The Republican sniper tricks his enemy into giving away his position by pretending to be shot and letting his rifle fall to the street below. When the Free-State sniper stands up he is killed. It is the logical progression in a story about war. Some soldiers die and some live to fight on.

    The first full characterization of the sniper comes after he shoots his opponent. He is both happy and distraught. He gives a "cry of joy" over his victory but is also reduced to a senseless heap as he feels bitter regret over having to kill. Rather than a machine whose only purpose is to kill, the sniper is portrayed as a human with real emotions in the face of death. 

     

     

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