The Sniper Essay

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Afreen Meharaj ENG2DB - 01 Ms. Toubassi Monday, February 25, 2013 Contentions and Emotions Set in the time of the Irish Civil War, “The Sniper” written by Liam O’Flaherty, displays the dreadfulness of war not only through the physical dangers but also through the psychological effects of an individual serving in war. “The Sniper” narrates the story of a Republican sniper who impulsively and ruthlessly kills an enemy sniper and soon learns that his victim was someone he had known, causing him to advance into a period of sorrow and guilt. The emotional part of the story, illustrates how war can change a person to become heartless as a result of hatred and enmity. O’Flaherty demonstrates this illustration through the excellent use of literary devices and elements such as irony, conflict, characterization and symbolism. Fundamentally, through the sniper it is evident that war can push people to the edge of their humanity and cause them to irrevocably lose their emotions. To begin with, the use of irony is one of the literary techniques which shapes the story’s theme. After an enemy sniper fires at the protagonist, a Republican sniper, from an opposite rooftop, the Republican sniper plans on firing back at the enemy sniper, which he accomplishes at. After killing his enemy, he questions himself on whether he had known the enemy sniper and decides to approach his victim which shortly after. the sniper discovers that his victim was known to him. This is evident when the sniper “threw himself face downward beside the corpse…then [the sniper] turned over the dead body and looked into his brother’s face” (O’Flaherty 4). Accordingly, O’Flaherty demonstrates irony; more particularly the use of situational irony is demonstrated through this story as the outcome of the story turns out to be contrary from what was expected. O’Flaherty shows that tensions such as war can make

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