What is the message of the story "The Sniper"?

One message of the story "The Sniper" could be that violence is wrong. Another message could be that we should treat our fellow men as brothers and not enemies.

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In "The Sniper," the eponymous sniper kills another man. The man who is killed is described as suffering "agony" in the moment of his death. The dead man then falls several stories until he hits the ground beneath him with "a dull thud." After the sniper realizes that his "enemy" is dead, his "lust [for] battle" fades, and he feels as if "bitten by remorse." The sniper's remorseful reaction indicates that he realizes that he has done something wrong. This idea that violence is wrong, immoral, and inhumane, is the simple but fundamental message of the story. This is confirmed when the sniper looks at the dead body of the man he has killed. The body is described as a "shattered mass," and the sniper is described as "revolted from the sight."

At the end of the story, there is an unexpected twist when the sniper discovers that the man he has killed is his own brother. The sniper realizes this when he turns the body over and finds himself looking "into his brother's face." The message implied by this dramatic ending is that we should treat all men like our brothers. This message harks back to the biblical story of Cain and Abel. In this story, Cain kills his brother, Abel, and then when God asks after Abel, Cain replies, "Am I my brother's keeper?" The moral of this biblical story, and the moral of "The Sniper," is that all men are brothers and that every man should protect his brother and be his brother's keeper.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
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