The Sniper Questions and Answers
by Liam O’Flaherty

The Sniper book cover
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In "The Sniper", what trick does the sniper play on the other gunman?

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Blake Douglas eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The titular sniper is basically trapped on a rooftop. It's nighttime, and the sniper lit a match to smoke a cigarette - this revealed his location to the other gunman, who can clearly see him on the rooftop if he reveals himself. This leads to the sniper being shot in the arm when he takes shots at other targets. Now the sniper is wounded, and he can't get off the rooftop without revealing himself. Worse, if he waits until morning, he may die from his injury, or simply be even more visible to the other sniper.

The trick that he plays is that he puts his hat on the top of his rifle, and raises it just high enough above the cover he's hiding behind that the other gunman can see it. Sure enough, the other gunman shoots and hits the hat, and the sniper pretends to die - he stumbles to the edge of the roof, dropping his rifle over the side, hoping that this will convince the other gunman that he's dead. However, the sniper still has his pistol, and when the other gunman lowers his guard, the sniper shoots him with it.

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