In your opinion, what do you think will be the continuation of the story  "The Sniper" by Liam O'Flaherty?

Expert Answers
copelmat eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the great aspects of this short story is that it begs the reader to ask this question and begs us to think how we might proceed if we ever found ourselves in such a situation. Many suggest that the sniper would kill himself because of his murdering of his brother. I, however, disagree.

We see the emotions of guilt and remorse the sniper feels when he kills the old woman and the soldier in the street below his rooftop perch and again when the kills the sniper on the rooftop across the street (whom, at this point, he does not know is his brother). His reaction is to throw down his revolver as though he will never touch it again, which only causes the gun to fire and nearly results in him shooting himself in the head. Certainly, the sniper regrets being in this situation; he regrets having to take the lives of others. He is--and I think this is the central point of the story--forced to do so, however, because of the realities of war.

Despite his grief and regret, I don't think the sniper would go on to kill himself once he learns it is his brother dead in the street. Certainly, the rest of his life will be filled with guilt, remorse, and many other emotions. I think the more likely reaction is symbolized in the throwing down of the revolver. The sniper will walk away from the war, walk away from the scene, and re-invent himself in new life forever trying to understand and atone for his actions.