The Sniper by Liam O'Flaherty Analysis

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In Liam O’Flaherty’s “The Sniper”, we are exposed to the unfortunate brutality that Civil war inflicts on those involved. It’s ability to pit brothers against each other is a tragic realization that the protagonist in the story must come to realize. The author’s effective use of setting and characterization clearly provides a poignant insight to war that reveals it’s ferocious tragedy. O’Flaherty continually uses setting to create tension within the reader and give a more realistic approach to the nature of war. His short, choppy sentences cause a feeling of hurry, much like the character would have been facing in the story. The author also uses a comparison between light and dark to allude to the contrast between the known and the unknown. The fact that the story takes place in the dark, with light emerging comes to reveal something about the character. The sniper, while waiting to kill his opponent, is enveloped in darkness, much like he’s enveloped in uncertainty. As he kills his enemy and the light emerges, the light is shone upon his situation, revealing a tragically ironic twist. His so-called enemy has been revealed to be his brother. We know by the characterization of the story that the sniper is accustomed to death, he’s “used to looking at it”. This reveals a certain dark side of the man, the fact that he is so comfortable taking the lives of others. We see in the murder of the woman in the street that the sniper doesn’t seem to mind her shrieks of terror followed by the grim silence of death. It is not until his realization that he killed his brother that his character’s shift is revealed. We learn by his reaction of killing his “enemy” that he may not have been as aloof to death and comfortable with war as previously thought. He was described to have lost the passion of war, perhaps even questioning it’s motives. It’s clear that the author

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