The Sniper Questions and Answers
by Liam O’Flaherty

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What facts are we told directly about the sniper? What can you infer about the character in "The Sniper"?

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We are told that the sniper is a Republican, and, in the context of Irish history, this means that he fights for the Irish Republican Army (the IRA), and he believes that all of Ireland (including Northern Ireland) should be politically independent of England.  The IRA also embraced violence as a necessary way to accomplish the goal of Irish independence.  To say that the sniper is "a fanatic," is not necessarily a good thing; to be a fanatic means that one could also be described as a zealot, someone who fights, perhaps blindly or without considering the consequences of one's zealotry.  We are also told that his eyes have a "cold gleam." Again, we might infer that this denotes a kind of emotional detachment from what he's doing.  He shoots without emotion, without considering the life of the person who he shoots: all that matters to him is the cause.

We are also told that, after shooting the sniper across the...

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