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

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

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cmslack eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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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...

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