How does the author build suspense in "The Sniper" through characterization, setting, or point of view?

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O'Flaherty builds suspense through setting. The narrator tells us early on that the protagonist is on a rooftop and that he is a "Republican sniper" facing the Free Staters in the Irish civil war. The city of Dublin lies in "darkness," and the sound of "heavy guns roared." One can hear "machine guns and rifles" in the silence, and the sniper's eyes have "the cold gleam of the fanatic" because he is "used to looking at death." All of these details—the war, the darkness, the imminent danger, the sniper's description as somewhat ruthless and accustomed to death—build suspense because they create such a foreboding and menacing mood.

The sniper's characterization also contributes to the suspense in the story because we see that he is young and does not always make the smartest decisions. This makes the reader fearful, perhaps, that he will do something to jeopardize his own safety, and he does. For example, he pauses to consider whether or not he should light a cigarette. Common sense should tell him that he ought not risk it because the "flash might be seen in the darkness."

However, he decides to risk it anyway, and he almost gets shot as a result. When he raises himself up again, he almost gets shot a second time. He is also characterized as young with "the face of a student," but his eyes make him seem like a "fanatic." These descriptions might also make us feel some concern that he could do something else to get himself shot.

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Out of those three possibilities, I would say that the author achieves the greatest amount of suspense in the story through the setting and the narrative point of view. Readers are alerted very quickly to the fact that the events of the story are taking place at night:

The long June twilight faded into night. Dublin lay enveloped in darkness but for the dim light of the moon that shone through fleecy clouds, casting a pale light as of approaching dawn over the streets and the dark waters of the Liffey.

Nighttime always tends to ramp up suspense because of how it limits visibility, and I think most readers (regardless of age) remember a time when they were afraid of the dark. Readers are also introduced quite quickly to the fact that the protagonist is surrounded by the combat of a civil war:

Republicans and Free Staters were waging civil war.

He is in a dangerous location, and he has a dangerous occupation—in that he is a sniper.

The narrative also adds to the suspense because the point of view is third-person limited. Readers are not privy to information about any character other than the sniper. His experiences are our experiences, so we feel quite tense knowing that he is under fire from an enemy that he can't clearly find. This sense of not knowing information about other characters can increase reader tension because there is fear in the unknown.

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I think the action clearly builds suspense. We are initially presented with a sniper who thinks high position gives him safety and enables him to shoot without fear of retaliation, which of course he does, killing an informer and a soldier. However, when a shot suddenly comes from the roof of the house opposite, wounding him, he and we realise that he is in grave danger of his life. This suspense is heightened when we realise that the sniper will be unable to fight this duel with his rifle, thus putting him at an immense disadvantage.

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The physical setting and the point of view certainly enhance the suspense and tension of the story. The rooftop setting and the feelings that the sniper is basically trapped upon that rooftop with no easy method of escape enhances the suspense. I think all of us can identify with that feeling of being a "cornered animal" in such a situation.

The point of view is also important. We get a chance to see inside the thoughts and emotions of the sniper and yet also have the benefit of seeing details of the other characters that the sniper may or may not be completely aware.

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The author builds the suspense in the story through all three of the literary elements that you mention above.

The protagonist, the sniper, is lying in wait to assassinate any enemy targets.  As he is doing this, the reader learns more about why he is doing what he is doing and his attitude about murdering others.  As he is waiting, the tension and suspense slowly build.

The setting also adds suspense because the story is set in Dublin, Ireland, during their civil war.  This was an extremely violent time.  Families were split apart after taking opposite sides during the war and thousands of people were killed.  People had to be careful all of the time in the city and outlying areas because of the potential for violence.  

The point of view also adds to the suspense as the third-person narrator matter-of-factly describes the sniper and what he was doing as he was lying in wait.  

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How does the author create suspense in the tale of "The Sniper"?

A majority of the suspense is created in the first few paragraphs, because it is those paragraphs that describe the setting. Night has just arrived, and that automatically heightens the tension in the story. It would be far less suspenseful to have started the story by telling readers that it was a bright and sunny morning. Additionally, the story's setting puts it in a war-torn city. Heavy guns are firing in the distance, and sporadic machine-gun fire can be heard nearby. We as readers are being put into a dangerous location, and that creates suspense. On top of this is the fact that the war is a civil war. These are inherently worse than "normal" wars because they can pit brother against brother.

Another way that the author creates suspense is by having the protagonist do something that we are told is dangerous to begin with and that is ultimately not a good idea in the first place. The sniper knows that he should not light up his cigarette, because it can give away his position, yet he does it anyway. Readers are not even given one moment of relaxation after the sniper lights the cigarette, because he immediately comes under enemy fire. From there, the suspense continues to ratchet up once he becomes injured and his location is confirmed by the old woman.

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How does the author create suspense in the tale of "The Sniper"?

Certainly, the author begins to build suspense by establishing mood. In the very first paragraph, alone, we have a description of how

Dublin lay enveloped in darkness but for the dim light of the moon that shone through fleecy clouds, casting a pale light as of approaching dawn over the streets and the dark waters of the Liffey.

The neighborhood is "beleaguered" by the guns' "heavy [...] roar[s]" and "spasmodic" bouts of machine guns and rifles break "the silence of the night." Word choices like "darkness" and "dim" and "pale," "beleaguered," "heavy," "roar," and "silence" absolutely establish the mood as tense and menacing as we wait for the action to begin.

O'Flaherty also creates suspense by controlling the pacing and delaying the start of the action. There are, early on, many minute descriptions of the sniper's face, his eyes, his meal, lighting his cigarette, his body movements, and so forth. The author makes us wait to find out what is going to happen by prolonging the beginning of any real action with these detailed descriptions.

The author also creates suspense by allowing the protagonist to become injured. Once the main character realizes that he can no longer use his right arm, his situation becomes much more dire. He knows that he'll be killed if he's found injured on the rooftop in the morning. He must work harder to form and execute a plan in order to trick the other sniper, and we wait with bated breath to see if his "ruse" will work.

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How does the author create suspense in the tale of "The Sniper"?

"The Sniper" takes place historically during the Irish Civil War in the 1920s that even divided families.

The story begins with a sense of danger when the author describes the how the "heavy guns roared" in the streets. The reader gets a sense of foreboding that the war is right outside people's doorsteps and the streets are not a very safe place to be.

As the story progresses the author presents the sniper on the roof top with several conflicts which help to build the suspense of the story. First there was a woman pointing the rooftop where he lay in wait who might have given away his position. Then he resolves the conflict by shooting her and in doing so gives his location away to another shooter that injures him with shot. The sniper finally tricks the second sniper and shoots him dead only to find that the sniper was his brother.

The story, while suspenseful is also a great example of conflict and theme. We see several conflicts followed by quick resolutions in the story that support the theme that war can be horrific and inhumane, especially civil war because you are fighting against your neighbors and as the story clearly shows, sometimes even your own family.

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How does the author create suspense in the tale of "The Sniper"?

The author creates suspense several different ways in the telling of "The Sniper."  First off, the setting of the story most definitely creates suspense for the reader.  The narrator, a sniper during the civil war in Ireland, is on a rooftop, completely isolated from anyone else.  The time of day, twilight into evening, also adds to the suspense. 

 Next, the reader's limited information gathered through the narrator creates and adds to suspense.  We only see what he sees, and we feel completely wrapped up in his predicament. 

The mood of the story also creates suspense.  Images and sounds detailed throughout the story foster an environment in which we know something bad is going to happen by the end of the story.

 Finally, the basic plot of the story creates suspense for the reader.  Because we are only privy to the narrator's thoughts, we aren't aware of anything else that might be going on with the other sniper he's shooting at (and who is shooting at the narrator!).  When the narrator feels the intense desire to see the man he's killed, the reader knows there's a reason why, however unconscious.  The moment where the narrator looks into the face of his brother is the culmination of suspense throughout the entire story. 

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How does the author use the element of suspense in "The Sniper"?

Suspense is an intense feeling that a reader has while reading and waiting for the outcome of an event. It's that "edge of your seat" feeling. The author of "The Sniper" is able to create suspense in this story by placing the protagonist in a dangerous and isolated situation. The Republican sniper is fighting in a civil war. That immediately places the sniper in a life threatening position, creating suspense. The same feelings wouldn't be created in readers if the author told you it was peace time and the sniper was barbecuing in his backyard. 

Suspense is further created by making the protagonist an isolated sniper. Often snipers will work in pairs. One on the gun, and the other soldier is the spotter. He helps identify targets and protects the sniper's rear. This story's sniper is completely alone. That heightens the suspense because readers know that he isn't likely to get help from anybody.  He's on his own. Readers really begin to feel the suspense and the danger that the sniper is in once the combat begins. The sniper is out numbered and outgunned.  The enemy even has an armored vehicle. Once he's wounded, I feel that the suspense level is near its peak. Readers have no idea how the sniper is likely to survive the situation that he is in.  

I also feel that suspense is created in this story by having the narration be a third person limited narration. Readers are not given all of the information. We only know what is going on inside the mind of the sniper. He may be relatively calm, but his thoughts definitely tell readers that he knows he's in a bad situation. Because the sniper is the only character that readers are allowed into the mind of, we intensely feel his predicament.  

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How does author Liam O'Flaherty create the effect of suspense in The Sniper?

When the subject of a story is a sniper, a profession to which suspense is integral given the nature of the individual trained to lie motionless for hours at a time until a suitable target appears and to then kill that target, sometimes at considerable distance and at considerable risk to him- or herself, the injection of additional suspense is not particularly difficult. When the "action" takes place in a claustrophobic urban setting in the midst of a civil war, then the development of suspense is even more natural. Such is the case with Liam O'Flaherty's short story The Sniper. O'Flaherty's narrative is inherently suspenseful. The story begins with a brief description of Dublin, Ireland during the period known as "The Troubles," the enduring and bloody conflict between those fighting for independence from the British Crown and a unified Irish State, and those seeking to remain a part of the United Kingdom. At its more basic level, it would evolve into a straightforward war between Irish Catholics and Protestants, the latter identifying more with England than with the country's majority Catholic population. In short, it was (and remains) an extremely tense situation that easily lends itself to dramatic renderings. 

O'Flaherty does, however, build tension as his story progresses. The titular sniper is described as young but experienced at the art of war. In the story's second paragraph, the author describes his protagonist as possessed of eyes that "had the cold gleam of the fanatic. They were deep and thoughtful, the eyes of a man who is used to looking at death." The sniper is perched on the roof of a building, seeking targets to shoot with his rifle. Again, the scene is inherently dramatic, and the tension builds only gradually because the story begins with such an elevated level of suspense. The introduction of an enemy armored car, a menacing sight to a soldier armed only with a rifle and a revolver, represents a new level of suspense, but this threat is quickly eliminated. The suspense really begins to build, though, when the sniper, exhausted and tired, decides to light a match so that he can smoke. The flash from his match draws fire from an enemy marksman on an opposing roof, causing the tension to elevate. More so than with the armored car, the enemy sniper represents a more visceral threat to the protagonist because this new entrant into the action represents the very danger to himself that he has posed to others. It is now when O'Flaherty begins to heighten the suspense, as evident in the following passage, which follows the sniper's realization that he has been shot by his counterpart on the other roof:

"The sniper lay still for a long time nursing his wounded arm and planning escape. Morning must not find him wounded on the roof. The enemy on the opposite roof covered his escape. He must kill that enemy and he could not use his rifle. He had only a revolver to do it."

The reader now senses that the scale of the threat to the titular sniper has grown exponentially. Unlike the many times the sniper has been able to silently and efficiently kill enemy combatants (and informers) from the safety of his hiding place, the appearance of an equally menacing counterpart has escalated the already high tensions considerably. The suspense continues to build when the sniper, having outwitted his opponent, decides to approach the corpse and see if it was somebody he knew. This nonessential action poses yet another serious threat to the protagonist of the story, but one that is readily dispensed, as described in this passage:

"The sniper darted across the street. A machine gun tore up the ground around him with a hail of bullets, but he escaped. He threw himself face downward beside the corpse. The machine gun stopped."

O'Flaherty has elevated the tension in his narrative until it reaches its dramatic and painful conclusion. The climactic ending, with the sniper gazing into the face of his dead brother, whom he has killed, lends The Sniper a poignancy that the reader would not have anticipated, and the unrelenting suspense in this story is quickly deflated as the futility of the whole enterprise becomes all too apparent.

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