What does the street symbolize in "The Sniper"?

In "The Sniper," the street symbolizes the divide between the two sides of the Irish Civil War and the war itself. Instead of killing other soldiers on a battlefield, the protagonist is compelled to kill an old woman, an armored-car driver, and his own brother. The street itself has become a warzone, showing just how uncivil this civil war really was.

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The street between the two snipers' rooftop hiding spots represents the Irish Civil War itself. This was a conflict generated by a national divide over the recent Anglo-Irish Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland. This treaty maintained that Ireland would continue as a self-governing dominion within the British Empire. In the story, the protagonist fights for the anti-treaty Irish Republican Army against the pro-treaty Free State forces, represented by the old woman informant, the driver of the armored car, and the sniper on the rooftop across the street.

It is in the street where most of the action of the story plays out. The protagonist sees the informant give away his location, and so he has to kill her. So, too, must he kill the man she told. After he shoots, her body falls into the gutter. It's as though the street has been turned into an actual battlefield, with dead bodies just lying around; the very city of Dublin, a place where people live and work, has been turned into a war zone.

It is also notable that when the protagonist shoots the enemy sniper, the man's body falls from the rooftop and into the street below. The protagonist goes down to the street level, where he is shot at some more, and the narrator reports that in "the upper part of the street there was heavy firing" too. It is here that the sniper realizes he has killed his own brother, and the street represents this oxymoronic civil war, which pits brother against brother.

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How does the street between the sniper and his target function as a symbol in the short story, "The Sniper?"

On a street in downtown Dublin during the Irish Civil War a Republican sniper is posted on a rooftop in Liam O'Flaherty's short story "The Sniper." Opposite him on the other side of the street is a Free State sniper. The street which separates them is a symbol of the division between the Irish who wanted complete freedom from the British, Republicans, and those that were willing to accept being part of the British Commonwealth, Free Staters. More than that it is symbolic of the disagreement which brewed between people who had once been allied. After all, the Free Staters were once part of the Irish Republican Army and the division in the army often involved a clash of those from the same family.

It is noteworthy that the enemy armored car stops on "the opposite side of the street" from the Republican sniper. The lines between the two foes is symbolically drawn, and when an old woman appears to tell the armored car commander the position of the Republican, both her and the commander are killed by the sniper. Ultimately the sniper kills his opponent on the opposite rooftop. For a brief time he is overcome by regret but soon pulls himself together and decides to cross the street, at great peril, to identify his victim. The crossing of the street is an acknowledgement that these two men were, in reality, brothers, and that the street (or war) should have never divided them.

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