The Sniper Questions and Answers
by Liam O’Flaherty

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What is happening as the story "The Sniper" begins?

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When the story first begins, readers are told that twilight is turning into night. We are witnessing events in Dublin on a moonlit night with scattered clouds. Dublin is currently in the middle of a civil war between the Republicans and Free Staters. Heavy guns are roaring nearby along with scattered machine gun and rifle fire.

Next, readers are introduced to the story's protagonist. We are not told his name. He is simply a Republican sniper waiting for an opportune kill. He is eating a sandwich in the new darkness. After finishing the meal, he takes a small drink of whiskey. At that point, the Republican sniper considers doing something that he knows is a bad idea. He considers having a smoke. The problem is that lighting the cigarette could be a highly visible action in the dark of night. The burning embers and smell of smoke can also give away his position.

Despite those dangers, the Republican sniper decides that he will indeed finish off his meal with a smoke. At this moment, the story fully moves into the rising action. The sniper lights the match, and the light is indeed seen by an enemy sniper. The enemy sniper takes a shot at the protagonist and misses. The rest of the story is about the two snipers pitting their skills against each other.

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