The Sniper Essay

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“THE SNIPER” Why, after centuries of futile destruction, does man persist in waging war? In the short story “The Sniper” by Liam O’ Flaherty, the author focuses on the Irish civil war of the 1920’s. On a Dublin roof, a republican soldier struggles to destroy his enemy. Although the sniper is an experienced and ingenious combatant, the story’s outcome clearly conveys an anti-war theme. As General Sherman observed, “War is hell.” The sniper is a veteran of war: his eyes are those of a man “who is used to looking at death” (O’ Flaherty 1). He has witnessed much destruction. The Republican sniper was highly experienced because he applied many maneuvers such as shooting from a great distance with a revolver and other things he learned over the years. Another way the republican sniper proved that he’s experienced was by quickly dressing his injury after being shot; he was able to dress his own wound and persevere. One can also notice his knowledge related to war when he realized that his rifle wouldn’t pierce the armored car from a great distance, proving his knowledge of rifles and armored vehicles. When the sniper couldn’t use the rifle anymore and was left to fight his enemy with only a revolver, he executed a smart plan to defeat him. The Republican sniper was very clever when he quickly drew up a plan to fool the free stater sniper by revealing his position over the parapet, waiting for the enemy to respond to the plan. When he did, the sniper let his hand hang in a way that made the free stater believe that he had defeated the enemy, the republican sniper. When the protagonist recognized the joy in the antagonists face, he raised his revolver over the parapet, calculated the distance, and fired the revolver, “his enemy had been hit. He was reeling over the parapet in his death agony” (O’ Flaherty). His ruse worked. At this point, O’Flaherty introduced his

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