What evidence is there that the sniper is a risk-taker in Liam O'Flaherty's short story "The Sniper"?    

Expert Answers
mercut1469 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Obviously any individual who would place themselves alone on a rooftop in the middle of a pitched battle between two bitter foes can be considered a risk-taker. The Republican sniper risks his life in Liam O'Flaherty's short story "The Sniper" for a cause he is committed to. He is called a "fanatic" early on in the story. A fanatic is someone with extreme dedication to a cause. His actions on the Dublin rooftop during the height of the Irish Civil War prove he is not only a fanatic but also a risk-taker as he is surrounded by enemies who would like to kill him. 

At one point he risks revealing his position by lighting a cigarette. O'Flaherty writes:

He paused for a moment, considering whether he should risk a smoke. It was dangerous. The flash might be seen in the darkness, and there were enemies watching. He decided to take the risk.

His risk is met with a bullet from an opposing sniper hiding on a nearby rooftop. Rather than staying out of sight, the sniper risks his life again as an armored car and an "informer" appear in the street below. He shoots both the armored car commander and the woman but is hit by a bullet from the enemy sniper. After performing first aid on himself the reader may feel he should hide until things calm down. Instead he devises a plan to defeat his enemy.

He risks losing his rifle as he fakes being killed and drops it to the street. The "ruse" works and his enemy shows himself, giving the Republican sniper a clear shot, which he takes and kills his Free-State opponent. Unfortunately, this final risk not only leads to a killing but it also leads to intense remorse on the part of the sniper even before he knows he has killed his own brother.

Read the study guide:
The Sniper

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question