Discussion Topic

The implications and takeaway from the conclusion of "The Sniper" by Liam O'Flaherty


The conclusion of "The Sniper" highlights the tragic futility of civil war, revealing that the sniper has killed his own brother. This shocking twist emphasizes the personal and familial costs of conflict, illustrating how war dehumanizes individuals and destroys familial bonds. The story serves as a poignant commentary on the senselessness and devastating impact of war.

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What is the takeaway from the conclusion of "The Sniper" by Liam O'Flaherty?

I think that O'Flaherty's life brings to light some level of dissatisfaction with partisan politics.  Having devoted so much of his life to the cause, he ends up living a life where political activism is not as important.  His decision to write and travel helps to illuminate a being in which politics is seen as futile and not the answer to the problems that plague consciousness.  In this light, I sense that the ending to the story is a compelling one.  It is the accomplishment of the sniper's mission that brings about an understanding that what he has been doing and what has been asked of him does not solve much of anything.  This revelation is one in which some level of change in the sniper is evident.  Such a development has to be cemented when he recognizes the target as his brother.  In being forced to live with the fact that he is his brother's murderer, the sniper has experienced an epiphany about the nature of war and politics.  At the same time, the conclusion reveals that the sniper has understood in greater detail his role in both of these elements. It is to this end and the change that results from it that the sniper learns and understands a truer meaning to his purpose and his function.  I think that this is where the story's ending proves to be highly relevant.

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What are the implications of Liam O'Flaherty's suggestions in "The Sniper"?

One of the most profound implications from O'Flaherty's work is the pain that underscores all war, in particular a civil war.  The work is driven by the idea that the modern context of war is one in which soldiers are alienated from their missions of killing.  They are part of a larger machinery of war.  This is something that the sniper recognizes as part of his being.  When his mission is accomplished, he reflects about his own frustration and the helplessness he feels to be a part of a condition of being where his own actions are guided by something larger.  He is incapable of being able to exercise any autonomy, which is why there is nothing but pain and suffering that is a part of the modern war experience.  The sniper does not experience the glory of completing his mission.  He does not experience the triumph of battle. Instead, he recognizes his own futility from an emotional point of view and that he is a part of a larger machinery in which he is simply a part that can be readily replaced.  In recognizing that the sniper's target was his own brother, the pain of modern warfare is evoked and the realistic condition of war is evoked.  This becomes the largest implication of the work, and one that makes the condition of war a grim one.

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