The Sniper Questions and Answers
by Liam O’Flaherty

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What message about the civil war is Liam O'Flaherty trying to convey?

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The message of Liam O'Flaherty's story entitled "The Sniper" may well be that civil wars are wars which are never truly won because the losses are those of fellow countrymen, if not brothers. Also, there is devastation in one's own country and resentments that sometimes never die. Interestingly, O'Flaherty himself fought on the Republican side, and he participated in the Four Courts Rebellion in which 1,000 years of public records were lost when the court buildings suffered damage. In his story, O'Flaherty alludes to the sniper’s position that is close to the “beleaguered Four Courts [where] the heavy guns roared.”

It also seems that civil wars do not end animosities. In Ireland, the country is divided into Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland. (James Joyce writes of the resentment of...

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