What is the foreshadowing in "The Sniper"?

In "The Sniper," the revelation of the protagonist's relationship to the other sniper is foreshadowed by the remorse he feels after having killed the man, as well as by his realization that he may, even, know the man's identity.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In a work of literature, foreshadowing refers to some indication of an event that is yet to happen. Although the narrator tells us that the sniper has "the eyes of a man who is used to looking at death" and that he is something of a "fanatic" for his cause, when he sees the body of his enemy falling from the rooftop opposite his own, he shudders. The narrator says that, in this moment, the "lust of battle" dies in the young sniper and that he feels "bitten by remorse." In fact, the sight of his enemy's broken body is revolting to him, and his teeth begin to chatter as with fear or cold. The sniper curses the world and throws his own revolver to the ground at his feet. This foreshadows the protagonist's future disillusionment with war—else why should the sight of this enemy's dead body produce such a unique effect on him? These details foreshadow the personal relationship he has with the man he has shot and killed.

Likewise, the protagonist's "sudden curiosity" to learn the identity of the sniper he killed and his realization that he might have known him further foreshadow that he does, in fact, know the other sniper. He feels so compelled to see the other sniper's face that he risks being shot and killed just to get to the man's body, as a "machine gun [tears] up the ground around him" as he makes his way to the corpse. These details foreshadow that he does know the other sniper and that he needs to see the man's face in order to understand their connection.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial