Why is the setting of "The Sniper" relevant to the story?

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The story of “The Sniper” takes place in Dublin, Ireland.  This is a logical place because it is a story that takes place during the Irish Civil War (1922-1923), and specifically during the Battle of Dublin.  The two opposing forces were the Irish Republicans and the Irish Nationalists.  They were fighting over the acceptance of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.  The Nationalists supported the treaty, and the Republicans opposed it.  The treaty gave twenty-six southern counties a considerable degree of independence, created a line between northern and southern Ireland, and dissolved the Republic created in 1918.

The Nationalists argued that the Dail, or the lower house of Parliament, had voted for the Treaty, and the people had endorsed their decision in an election in 1922.  Therefore, they had done the people’s bidding.   The Republicans argued that the Treaty had been forced by the British government under the threat of war, and there could be no true free vote if they were operating under intimidation and threats. They felt that the Provisional government was just a puppet of the British government.

Liam O’Flaherty places the action near the Four Courts area of Dublin.  This is an area that dispensed justice.  It was the location of Ireland’s Supreme Court, the High Court, the Circuit Court, and the Central Criminal Court.  It is located on the banks of the River Liffey.  The first paragraph of the story gives an ominous and dark feeling of insecurity and strife.

“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. Around the beleaguered Four Courts the heavy guns roared.”  (pg 1)

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