In the story "The Sniper," why does O'Flaherty not give the sniper a name?

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The unnamed sniper ties in to the theme of war decreasing the humanity of those who fight in war or are affected by it. Humans become objects, or just dots on a map. In this vein, it is important to note that O’Flaherty does not just leave the sniper unnamed—he...

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The unnamed sniper ties in to the theme of war decreasing the humanity of those who fight in war or are affected by it. Humans become objects, or just dots on a map. In this vein, it is important to note that O’Flaherty does not just leave the sniper unnamed—he does not name any of his characters.

Fighters who are nameless and faceless also tie into the plot of the story; the sniper is responsible for shooting at enemies but cannot necessarily make out the identity of the person he kills. Being so far removed from his targets has a dehumanizing effect and gives off the feel that he is shooting at “things” rather than actual people.

Finally, by not naming any of the characters, O’Flaherty essentially makes the sniper an everyman—he could be anyone and anyone could be him. And, in war, at the end of the day, the names don’t matter. The nameless and faceless people involved tend to be a means to an end—a force to deploy to win. This is a terrible horrible but generally necessary aspect of war.

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By making the sniper nameless and anonymous, Liam O’Flaherty successfully creates a universal character, who experiences the worldwide horrors of war and allows readers a more personal insight into the psychology of young soldiers. A nameless sniper also corresponds to the shadowy, enigmatic nature of the position. Snipers remain hidden during any conflict and are perceived as invisible killers, who are primarily concerned with maintaining their anonymity on the battlefield in order to strike with surprise. The anonymous sniper represents the countless young soldiers across the globe involved in bloody conflicts, particularly civil wars, which ravage their homeland and lead to devastating circumstances like fighting against one's family members. O'Flaherty also accurately depicts the psychological impact of being involved in bloody conflicts by portraying the nameless protagonist's struggles to survive and accept the destructive nature of his task. Overall, O'Flaherty's use of an anonymous sniper makes the story universally applicable and corresponds to the enigmatic position of a sniper in any war zone.

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The job of the sniper is to be "invisible" to the people he is targeting. The goal of the sniper is as much to terrify as it is to kill. You don't know where the shooter is hiding, so you don't know where to run, what to get behind for cover. It's almost as if some supernatural force is killing people. By giving the sniper a name, the author makes him a person. By keeping him anonymous, the author makes the sniper seem more monstrous and just another weapon of war.

In this story, two snipers are firing at each other. Each represents one side in the "war." Our sniper, the one through whose eyes the narrator tells the story, has to kill the old woman because she was going to reveal his position. His job is to be unseen. His job is to be that monster shooting from nowhere. At the end of the story, we discover just how much a monster he really is.

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The most likely answer to this question is because the author's point is not exactly WHO the sniper is, but what he is doing and what his "job" entails and the people it affects, as well as how it affects him.  Adding a name for the sniper would not add to the story, to be quite honest.  Also, the author might not have given the sniper a name because of the commonality of them in Ireland during the civil war.  The war was a bloody, violent one and it affected the entire country.  Perhaps the author wanted the reader to be able to realize how this civil war affected everyone, including those who were on opposite sides of the civil war (within families).

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