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Key plot developments and revelations in "The Sniper"

Summary:

In "The Sniper," key plot developments include the protagonist, a Republican sniper, killing an enemy sniper after a tense standoff. The story culminates with the revelation that the enemy sniper is actually his own brother, highlighting the personal tragedies of civil war.

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What are the climax and resolution of "The Sniper"?

The climax of a story is the moment of the most tension, and it can even be a turning point in the story itself. The conflict between the sniper and his enemies does not come to its most intense point until after the sniper crosses the street, under machine gun fire from his enemy. Turning over the dead body of the other sniper, who he'd killed from the opposite rooftop, the protagonist learns that he has actually shot and killed his own brother.

This is the most intense moment, the turning point in the story: therefore, this is the climax. There is no resolution to the story, just as there can be no resolution for this man who has learned that he's killed his brother, his own flesh-and-blood. The absence of resolution in the story mimics the fact that he will likely never be able to reconcile himself what he has done.

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What are the climax and resolution of "The Sniper"?

The Sniper” is a story about the Irish Civil War by Liam O’Flaherty. The basic situation and rising action of the story shows a young sniper on a rooftop trying to outmaneuver another sniper on a nearby rooftop. As usual, in the rising action the main character struggles to solve a problem that intensifies and/or changes. In this story, the main character is wounded by the enemy and has to come up with a plan to defeat him.

The climax to the story occurs when the main character tricks the enemy into exposing himself and is able to shoot him dead. At this point, the main character has resolved his primary conflict. To the reader, the significant part of the story seems to be over. However, the writer has a surprise in mind for the reader at the end of the story. In the falling action, which occurs between the climax and the resolution, writers usually show the effect of the climax on the main character. In this story, the main character suddenly, and perhaps surprisingly, suffers remorse over his killing of the enemy. This prepares the reader for the bigger surprise to follow.

Resolutions often provide an ironic twist—something that is surprising or unexpected. In this case, after killing the enemy, the main character leaves the roof and climbs down to the street to look at who he has killed. When he turns over the dead body, he sees that he has killed his brother. This event underscores the nature of civil war—we often have to fight our neighbors or even our own family members.

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What are the climax and resolution of "The Sniper"?

The climax of the story is when the Republican sniper hit the opposing sniper on the opposite rooftop and killed him. He was overjoyed to have made his shot because the two had been waiting to outsmart the other and make the kill. The resolution came when the sniper who made his kill decided that he wanted to look into the face of the man he killed, who was on the side of the civil war that he hated. He became sick when he peered down at the man and realized that he was looking into the face of his brother!

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What are the climax and resolution of "The Sniper"?

The climax of a story is considered to be the moment of the most tension, the moment when the main conflict is at its height, and it can even be a turning point of some sort. It is then helpful to determine what the main conflict is before trying to ascertain the climax of a story. As much of the story revolves around the conflict between the Republican sniper and the enemy sniper on the opposing rooftop, it can be argued that the climax of the story occurs when the protagonist finally defeats his enemy, killing him. However, the sniper seems to experience a conflict with all three individuals he kills: the driver of the armored car, the woman informant, and the enemy sniper across the street. These conflicts do not arise out of a personal dislike for these individuals; rather, they arise out of the fact that he is participating in the Irish Civil War and must kill or be killed. After he kills the enemy sniper, the "lust of battle died in him. He became bitten by remorse." He feels revolted by the sight of his enemy's shattered body and tosses his own gun to the ground. This would seem to indicate that his main conflict is actually with society, a society which is so deeply embroiled in war.

It is for this reason that the protagonist's killing of the enemy sniper is not the story's climax, as the conflict isn't really between the two snipers but, rather, with the protagonist's conflict with society as a whole. Thus, the climax of the story is the final line: when the sniper turns over his enemy's body and "look[s] into his brother's face." It is in this moment that both the reader and, we can assume, the main character understand the true nature of the story's conflict, when it comes most intensely forward. The sniper doesn't hate his brother, but he's been compelled to hate his enemy by his society, and now he's killed his own family member as a result.

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What are the climax and resolution of "The Sniper"?

In examining the plot and its key parts, you need to consider how the climax is foreshadowed throughout the novel. To a certain extent the author foreshadows the ironic and grimly tragic ending of this short story. For me, the foreshadowing comes in when the sniper has killed his enemy, and he has a moment of remorse as he contemplates what he has done having dispatched his enemy and opened his way to leave the roof:

The snipe looked at his enemy falling and he shuddered. The lust of battle died in him. He became bitten by remorse. The sweat stood out in beads on his forehead. Weakened by his wound and the long summer day of fasting and watching on the roof, he revolted from the sight of the shattered mass of his dead enemy. his teeth chattered, he began to gibber to himself, cursing the war, cursing himself, cursing everybody.

It is this paragraph when we begin to suspect that there is something wrong with what has just happened - we see the student, who was previously described as a "fanatic", now regretting the war and what he has just done. This represents the author preparing us for the shocking ending of the tale - that the man the sniper has killed is his brother. This, of course, as the sniper rolls of the body of his enemy, is the climax of this powerful and concise tale that speaks eloquently of how civil war separates friend from friend and brother from brother.

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What is the surprising climax of "The Sniper"?

It is clear that the ending of this excellent war time story is very abrupt, and many argue that it is too abrupt. However, let us remember what the author seems to be trying to argue through his story. He is showing how first of all war transforms those involved in it by turning a student into a violent fanatic who is capable of shooting people in cold blood. Secondly he is showing that wars actually only serve to turn us against what is nearest and dearest to us. If we look at the text carefully, we can see how the ending is foreshadowed by the sniper's response to seeing his opponent fall off the roof:

The lust of battle died in him. He became bitten by remorse. The sweat stood out in beads on his forehead. Weakened by his wound and the long summer day of fasting and watching on the roof, he revolted from the sight of the shattered mass of his dead enemy. His teeth chattered, he began to gibber to himself, cursing the war, cursing himself, cursing everybody.

It is clear that at some level at least, the sniper is aware of how his actions have effected him. The beauty and genius of this story is that the actual physical realisation of this only comes at the end of the story, in the very brief and short sentence that greatly adds to the impact of the ending and the message that the author is trying to communicate.

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What is the turning point in 'The Sniper'?

For most of the story, the sniper is on the defensive.  Early in the story he lights a cigarette and gives away his position to the enemy sniper.  The sniper does manage to relocate, but he knows that any subsequent actions will re-alert the nearby enemy sniper.  Despite knowing that firing his rifle will once again give away his position, the sniper shoots two people.  As a consequence, the sniper gets shot in the arm by the enemy sniper.  The sniper is very much in a defensive posture at this point.  He can't lift his rifle properly any longer, and the enemy knows his location.  He is a dead man unless he finds some way to go on the attack.  

In order to get out of his difficult situation, the sniper manages to fool the enemy sniper into thinking that he is dead.  That little bit of subterfuge is the turning point in the story, because it finally allows the protagonist to go on the offensive.  He has successfully fooled his enemy, which then allows the sniper to kill his opponent. The switch from being the hunted to the hunter is why that part of the story is the turning point.   

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What shocking revelation awaited "The Sniper" at the end of the story?

After killing the enemy sniper, the protagonist, "the sniper," decided he wants to see the man he has killed. He even considered the fact that he might know his victim: 

He wondered did he know him. Perhaps he had been in his own company before the split in the army. He decided to risk going over to have a look at him. 

When the sniper finally reaches his victim, he discovers that the victim is his "brother." This could be taken quite literally, that in a civil war, one might be fighting against his own brother. It could also be taken figuratively in that fighting in a civil war, one is essentially fighting against his brothers (countrymen), being related by nationality, culture, etc. The wider implication is that considering all humans are siblings simply by the fact of all being part of the human race and experiencing the same human condition, any war is (in this grand scheme of things) a war of brother against brother. 

That being said, this particular story shows how, in a civil war, actual biological brothers could become enemies. 

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What shocking revelation awaited "The Sniper" at the end of the story?

When the sniper kills his enemy, he decides to to have a look at his victim. He considers the possibility that he might know this enemy sniper. 

When the sniper reached the laneway on the street level, he felt a sudden curiosity as to the identity of the enemy sniper whom he had killed. He decided that he was a good shot, whoever he was. He wondered did he know him. Perhaps he had been in his own company before the split in the army. He decided to risk going over to have a look at him. 

The final line of the story indicates that the sniper looked at his enemy and saw "his brother's face." This could be quite literal. Given that the sniper's army split as the civil war developed, it is possible that his brother had become his enemy. But it is also could refer to countrymen as brothers. This is why civil wars are often described as wars of "brother against brother." In either case, the implication is that the sniper knew his victim (as his brother, a friend, acquaintance, or countryman). The shock is that he knew (in any of those interpretive senses of "brother") the man he killed and this shock speaks to the insanity of war. 

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