What is the figurative language in Liam O'Flaherty's "The Sniper"?

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When the sniper sees an armored vehicle coming up the street, he knows it's an enemy car and wants to fire on it. However, he knows "his bullets would never pierce the steel that covered the grey monster." This is a metaphor that compares the armored car to a monster. It's as though the monster has impenetrable hide against which his bullets would be useless, and so the sniper doesn't waste them.

When he's shot at and drops his rifle, he "thought the noise would wake the dead." This is an example of hyperbole, or overstatement. The noise would not actually wake the dead—such a thing is not possible—but the overstatement tells us just how incredibly loud the sound is to the sniper's ears.

Then, when he reaches for the rifle, he can't lift it: "His forearm was dead." Again, his arm isn't really dead; it couldn't be unless his whole self is. But another example of hyperbole shows how powerless the sniper is to use that arm. It feels completely paralyzed because he's been shot.

The narrator uses another metaphor when he says that the sniper's arm "was paining him like a thousand devils." He compares the torture of the sniper's pain in his shot arm to the pain caused by the torture of a thousand devils.  

 

science2014 | Student

Figurative Language comprises of: (a) Simile: comparing one thing to another using 'like' or 'as' (b) Metaphor: compares two things without using 'like' or 'as' (c) Personification: applying human characteristics to something that is not human (d) Hyperbole: expressing exaggeration.

In the story “The Sniper,” by Liam O'Flaherty, we find plenty of examples of such figurative languages. Some examples of personification in this story are: (i) “The sniper could hear the dull panting of the motor” (111) (ii) “…a bullet flattened itself against the parapet”(111) (iii) “He became bitten by remorse” (114). Examples of metaphor are: (i) “His bullets would never pierce the steel that covered the gray monster” (111) (ii) “The cloud of fear scattered from his mind . . .” (114) (iii) "Dublin lay enveloped in darkness but for the dim light of the moon that shone through the fleecy clouds ...". Similes can be found in: (i) “…rifles broke the silence of the night, spasmodically, like dogs barking on a lone farms” (110) (ii) “…he was slowly falling forward, as if in a dream” (113) (iii) “…his right arm was paining him like a thousand devils” (113).

Besides, the use of the word 'swept' in the sentence "A paroxysm of pain swept through him" is an alliteration.

 

rachellopez | Student

Some figurative language used in The Sniper would be similes. Similes are comparisons using the words like or as. An example would be  “…rifles broke the silence of the night, spasmodically, like dogs barking on a lone farms” (110).

The Sniper also uses metaphors, or comparisons without using like or as. An example of a metaphor would be “His bullets would never pierce the steel that covered the gray monster” (111).

Personification is also used in The Sniper. Personification is giving a non-living object living/human characteristics. An example would be “The sniper could hear the dull panting of the motor” (111). This is personification because a motor cannot paint.