What is your reaction to this story "The Sniper"?What is your reaction to this story "The Sniper"?

Expert Answers
pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My reaction to the story "The Sniper" is one of sadness. This story is a very personal account for Liam O'Flaherty. He was in the middle of the fighting in the Four Courts Rebellion.   The author captures the essence of what civil war really means.  A fight between countrymen, who, in this case, are actually brothers. 

Civil war rips through the daily life of people, interrupting the ordinary occurrences.  The sadness is magnified when you realize that O'Flaherty, as an Irishman, had his life dominated by war.  When he writes that the sound of gun fire is as common as the sound of dogs barking, it tells me that the fighting has been going on so long that people no longer notice it.

The author's life and experiences were shaped by war.  I think that he captures the anxiety and disruption that both World War I and the Irish Civil War made in the life of the Irish people, particularly informing and influencing the writing of  Liam O'Flaherty.   

I have great respect for this story, because the author knows what he is talking about, he lived it.

sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a personal question, but I can help you focus your response.  Consider these additional questions:

What do you think of the characters? 

Do you like the main character?  Why or why not?

Is the description complete enough?  Explain.

Is the ending effective?  Does it make sense?

Do you think the story gives a good lesson?  Explain.

What would you change about the story?  Explain.

Do you agree with the message of the story (about the effects of Civil War)?  Why or why not?

Is the story realistic?  Why or why not?

Keep in mind that this story develops themes about war, identity, fighting for a cause, family vs. goals, and survival.  You can also react by explaining what the author has to say about any of these themes and agreeing or disagreeing with the author.

kwoo1213 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This story is a tragedy.  The fact that the sniper kills his own brother is heartbreaking.  I think this story reveals the cruelties and pointlessness of war, really, and how war affects not only people who are not directly involved in it, but also families and loved ones.  The sniper had no idea that he had killed his own brother and the story ends as he discovers that he has done this.  The reader can only wonder what the sniper is feeling as he looks on his dead brother's face.

copelmat eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with all the posts above but also find the story to be incredibly thought-provoking. I can't help but imagining that if in such a situation my entire world-view toward war and disagreement would be entirely changed. One of the real strengths of this story is that it forces the reader to contemplate the human repercussions that war brings. It would certainly make me think twice before becoming a soldier or encouraging military engagement in a war of any kind.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think this story is definitely a tragic one that seriously questions the worth or benefit of engaging in civil wars. The story shows how tragic such wars are, as they literally pit friend against friend and brother against brother. The crushing realisation of the sniper at the end of the story clearly shows the theme of this tale, but you would also do well to consider how the ending was foreshadowed earlier on in the story as well.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I've always wondered at the end if the guy he shot was literally his blood brother. This was a civil war, and it would have been quite possible for two brothers to fight on different sides. At the same time, they were both caught up in killing the enemy, caught up in events bigger than themselves, and so maybe they were simply brothers in a metaphorical sense. Which is it?

user7928946 | Student

well I agree with evry ans that has been conveyed by the viewers. This is the most tremendous story I have ever heard or read.....

arsenal94 | Student

This story is a tragedy.  The fact that the sniper kills his own brother is heartbreaking.  I think this story reveals the cruelties and pointlessness of war, really, and how war affects not only people who are not directly involved in it, but also families and loved ones.  The sniper had no idea that he had killed his own brother and the story ends as he discovers that he has done this.  The reader can only wonder what the sniper is feeling as he looks on his dead brother's face.

You are a tragedy