The Sniper


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Finally, the sniper drags his hand back. When the sniper peers over the roof, he sees that his plan has fooled the enemy into thinking he is dead. The other sniper now stands uprights and looks across the street that separates the two houses. The sniper lifts his revolver. Taking careful aim, the sniper fires and hits the enemy. The other sniper falls over the edge of the roof down to the pavement below. On the street below, he lies still. Now that the battle is over, the sniper feels remorse. He curses the civil war and his own role in it. Then he hurls the revolver to the ground.

It goes off, sending a bullet past his head. The shock of the near miss returns him to his senses. The sniper takes a drink of whiskey and decides to descend from the roof and try to rejoin his company. Retrieving his revolver, the sniper crawls down into the house. Once at the street level, the sniper has an urge to see the man he killed.

He might know the man from the army before the civil war began. The sniper runs into the street, drawing a spate of machine gun fire from a distance. He throws himself on the ground besides the corpse of the enemy sniper. He turns the body over. He looks into the face of his brother. The Enemy Sniper is the Sniper's main opponent in the story. A member of the Free State army, he still shares similarities with the Sniper. The two men are engaged in the same role.

The Enemy Sniper, too, is a good shot, enough so that he wins the respect of the Sniper by the end of the story. His physical presence, on a rooftop across the street, further reinforces the idea that he is a mirror image for the Sniper. The Enemy Sniper wants to kill the Sniper. He appears to have the advantage after shooting and injuring the Sniper.

He makes a fatal error, however, when he falls for the Sniper's ruse. Once he thinks he has killed the other man, the Enemy Sniper stands up on his rooftop, thus making himself a clear mark. The Sniper shoots him, and he falls to the street below, dead. After that, the Sniper—along with the reader—discovers that the two snipers are brothers.

The Sniper shoots and kills her. The Sniper is the main character of the story. This young man is a member of the Republican army and his eyes have "the cold gleam of the fanatic. For instance, when he gets shot, he applies his own field dressing despite the excruciating pain.

Only occasionally does he allow himself to make poor decisions, notably when he decides to risk lighting a cigarette, which alerts the enemy soldiers to his location on the roof. He also runs into the street to find out the identity of the Enemy Sniper, drawing machine gun fire upon himself. The Sniper has been positioned atop a roof in Dublin. His role in the battle is not clear, but the streets of Dublin are awash with fighting, and he likely has been assigned to shoot enemy targets in the streets below.

Once the Free State soldiers learn of his presence, the Sniper becomes involved in a standoff with the Enemy Sniper on a rooftop across the street. The Sniper cannot leave his rooftop since the Enemy Sniper has him covered. Nor can he risk staying on the roof until morning, which assuredly would lead to his death at the hands of Free State soldiers. Injured by the Enemy Sniper, the Sniper devises a clever plan to draw fire and make the Enemy Sniper think he is dead.

Once his ruse succeeds, the Enemy Sniper lets down his guard and stops keeping his cover, so the Sniper is able to fatally shoot him. Once the Enemy Sniper is dead, the battle-hardened Sniper undergoes a transformation. The excitement of the battle fades. Looking over the rooftop at the three people he has just killed—the Soldier in the Turret, the Old Woman, and the Enemy Sniper—the Sniper feels remorse. His disgust for the civil war manifests itself physically, as his teeth begin to chatter, and he starts cursing both himself and the war. When the Sniper recovers his senses, his fear dissipates so much that he even risks being shot at to learn the identity of the Free State soldier he has just shot.

Only then does he realize that he has killed his own brother. Throughout the story, the Sniper remains a somewhat mysterious, one-dimensional character. The narrative reveals little of his feelings about what is happening around him, nor does it even share his reaction to the knowledge that he has become his brother's murderer. Instead, the story directs the Sniper's actions and thoughts to the battle. The Sniper's only identity is that of a solider. The Soldier in the Turret is a member of the Free State army. He learns of the Sniper's location on the rooftop from the old woman.

Before he and his men can go after the Sniper, the Sniper kills him with a rifle bullet. The complementary themes of civil war and warfare are the most obvious in "The Sniper. The fighting began in , after the Irish Parliament voted to accept the Anglo-Irish Treaty dividing the island of Ireland into northern and southern parts. Before the treaty, Irish nationalists had united against the British, their common foe, or against Northern Irish Protestants who supported union with England.

After the treaty was signed, however, Irish aggression was turned inward. Over the next few years, the Irish people remained bitterly split, and some took up arms against their friends, family members, and countrymen. O'Flaherty sets the stage of the civil war in his opening paragraph with sensory descriptions such as the "heavy guns [that] roared" at the "beleaguered Four Courts" and the "machines guns and rifles [that] broke the silence of the night, spasmodically, like dogs barking on lone farms.

Though the story is quite brief, the reader can infer that the Irish civil war has brought great change to its protagonist. The phrase that the sniper has "the face of a student, thin and ascetic" implies that the sniper may have recently been a student but has taken up the arms of a soldier. Now warfare has transformed him. His "deep and thoughtful" eyes are "used to looking at death," and they even hold "the cold gleam of the fanatic" in his dedication to the Republican cause.

The protagonist is only one of many young men who have joined either one side or the other of this brutal civil war. The story also makes clear that this civil war has driven enormous rifts into Irish society.

The Sniper (story) - Wikipedia

After the sniper has killed his enemy, he grows curious about the other man's identity. It also underscores the long-lasting repercussions of warfare that breaks up a society. A few key details in the story emphasize the bizarre landscape of warfare. The sniper undergoes a number of emotional responses to the battle that non-soldiers or those who have not taken part in battle are likely to find unusual. At the beginning of the story, during his stakeout, the sniper "had been too excited to eat. In the world of warfare, killing a fellow human being is a victory; for in war, soldiers, like the sniper, face a situation where they must kill or be killed.

By the end of the story, the protagonist has undergone a wide range of feelings stemming from his own actions. With his enemy dead, the sniper feels regret at what he has done. After the "lust of battle died in him," his body reacts by shuddering and sweating, and his teeth chatter. His mind gets involved in denying his situation as "he began to gibber to himself, cursing the war, cursing himself, cursing everybody.

He throws down his revolver, and it accidentally goes off, returning him to his senses. He also bolsters his courage and brings himself back to the proper state of mind by taking a drink of whiskey. Again able to face the state of warfare, laughing, the sniper descends from the rooftop to rejoin his company and continue his role as a soldier. By the end of the story, the sniper's emotions have moved in a circular pattern, from excitement to nervousness to remorse and back to excitement. The concept of survival underscores the entire story.

Even before the sniper kills any of the Free State soldiers, he knows "there were enemies watching. He must kill anyone who has the capacity to bring about his destruction. So the soldier manning the armored tank must be taken out. Indeed, anyone who takes part in this warfare can become an enemy, even an old woman who becomes an informer with a few simple words and the point of a finger. The sniper's main combatant and the biggest obstacle to his survival is the Free State sniper on the rooftop across the street. The man has the power to keep the sniper pinned down throughout the night, but he knows that "[M]orning must not find him wounded on the roof.

The sniper has little choice but to devise a plan, even though it is a long shot, to kill his enemy first. The fact that the sniper is isolated on his rooftop emphasizes his need to depend upon his own wits, courage, and abilities for survival. Though other men fight side by side with their companies, for instance, at the Four Courts and in the streets of Dublin, the sniper conducts his fight alone.

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It is up to him to kill the other sniper. No one will come to his aid. Because of his isolation, the sniper finds the resources within himself to overcome fear and pain and continue to fight. The setting of "The Sniper" is integral to the narrative, for it draws its action from the Irish civil war. The story takes place in Dublin, Ireland, in June At this time, the Irish civil war has been going on for several months. The Republicans hold the Four Courts judicial building, but the Free Staters are attacking them with heavy arms. Beginning as "twilight faded into night," the action of the story instantly becomes more dangerous.

The sniper must conduct his battle in the dark. He has only "the dim light of the moon that shone through fleecy clouds" to see by. This lack of clarity has a realistic impact in making his task—difficult even in the light of day—even more challenging. The sniper has to aim at his enemy, about fifty yards away, and get off one fatal shot with a revolver.

The lack of light also has symbolic significance: it underscores the murky, ambiguous situation that a civil war poses. The civil war pits friends, neighbors, and even family members against one another. As is borne out by the story's ending, people cannot see very clearly during such a conflict. The narrative takes a limited, third-person point of view. The action is entirely funneled through the protagonist. The reader sees only through his eyes, hears sounds through his ears, and processes events through his thoughts.

Despite this limited point of view, readers can clearly follow the action. The sniper observes the old woman on the street below as she talks to the soldier in the turret of the armored car. When the sniper carries out his plan to trick the enemy sniper into thinking that he is dead, he can tell that he has been successful. For the enemy "seeing the cap and rifle fall … was now standing before a row of chimney pots, looking across, with his head clearly silhouetted against the western sky. This point of view works well with the emotional detachment of the narrative.

Rarely does the protagonist show his reaction to the events around him, other than the excitement of the battle and his momentary repulsion at having killed another human being. Even when he learns that the man now lying in a "shattered mass" is his brother, the sniper does not react. Instead, the story ends, leaving the reader to only speculate about his feelings. O'Flaherty employs a number of specific details to make his story realistic. He describes the battle sounds taking place around the sniper, and he refers to actual events and places, such as the Four Courts siege and the nearby O'Connell Bridge.

The description of the sniper's first aid efforts is also filled with many concrete details, like the "bitter fluid" of the iodine, the "paroxysm of pain [that] swept through him," and his need to tie the ends of the bandage with his teeth. Such details help ground the reader in the action. O'Flaherty also uses details to emphasize the darkness. The sniper can see only by the "dim light" from the moon and, later, approaching dawn.

Even the flare from lighting a cigarette is easily seen. The sniper decides to risk the cigarette, striking a match, taking a drag on the cigarette, and then putting out the light. Though this process takes only a matter of seconds, if that, "[A]lmost immediately, a bullet flattened itself against the parapet of the roof.

Although the story is rooted in reality, O'Flaherty employs descriptive sound imagery to emphasize the stillness and dark of the night. Throughout Dublin, the machine guns and rifles "broke the silence of the night, spasmodically, like dogs barking on lone farms. Few writers have been able to employ the surprise ending effectively.

However, O'Flaherty does so successfully because he has already engaged the reader through the fast-paced action and the unique detachment of the protagonist. The shocking ending seems likely to challenge that detachment, but O'Flaherty refuses to reveal the sniper's reaction to the knowledge that he has murdered his brother. Instead, O'Flaherty leaves it up to the reader to draw conclusions and to wonder how, or if, this event will affect the future choices the sniper makes.

In the twelfth century, the English monarch, backed by a large army, declared himself overlord of Ireland. For the next several centuries, English rule was generally confined to the area around Dublin. The English monarchy, however, continued efforts to subdue the entire island, resulting in ongoing Irish rebellion.

In the early s, the monarchy overthrew the native Irish political system, bringing the entire country under its control. For the next hundred years, the English created colonies in Ireland. As part of this effort, they drove many Irish from their land and gave estates to English landowners. Religious problems arose as well, since most Irish were Roman Catholics while the new English settlers, who mainly lived in the north, followed the Protestant faith.

The Sniper (story)

Laws continually favored Protestants over Catholics. By the late s, Irish rebels were making repeated efforts to gain some kind of independence. Their efforts were to little avail, and in the Act of Union formally united Great Britain and Ireland. This law abolished the Irish Parliament; instead, Ireland voted for representatives who served in the British Parliament. Beginning in the s, a Home Rule movement was on the rise among Irish nationalists, most of whom were Catholics. Supporters demanded some form of self government.

They were opposed by Irish Protestants, who were called unionists because they wanted to preserve Ireland's status in the United Kingdom. Irish political leader Charles Parnell, who sat in the British Parliament, led a nationalist party and demanded a separate Irish Parliament. Its goal was to secure Irish independence. Because of these nationalist efforts, by the s, the British Parliament enacted a Home Rule bill.

While most of Ireland supported this bill, Protestants in Northern Ireland vowed to resist any home rule by force; they feared that the island would become dominated by the Catholics. The onset of World War I , however, delayed the enactment of home rule in Ireland. Irish home rule supporters were frustrated by this delay. In April , a rebellion known as the Easter Rising began in Dublin. About 1, Irish forces rose against British rule. Over the next week, street fighting sprang up throughout Dublin, and Republicans seized some government offices.

British soldiers, however, forced the Republican leaders to surrender and executed some of the leaders.


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Until , a brutal war rocked Ireland. They relied on guerrilla tactics, to which the English government, represented by the police force known as the Black and Tans, responded with brutal reprisals. During this period, the divisions between north and south grew, with northern unionists threatening to rebel if they were cast free from Britain. In response, the British government passed the Government of Ireland Act in , which called for two separate parliaments for Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland. This treaty made 26 of Ireland's 32 counties into the Irish Free State , a self-governing dominion within the British Commonwealth of Nations , while the six counties of Northern Ireland remained part of the United Kingdom.

Within Ireland, not everyone supported the Anglo-Irish Treaty. The British prime minister had even threatened open war on Ireland if the treaty was not accepted. Elections were held for the new Irish Parliament, which led to the ousting of most of the Republicans. Before the new Parliament could meet, a civil war had broken out between supporters of the treaty, known as Free Staters, and its opponents, called Republicans. They came under siege from the Free State forces. They retook the buildings and captured the enemy leader. Before their capture, however, the Republicans blew up the Four Courts.

Despite this Free State victory, battles continued to take place in Dublin until early July, when Free States forces gained control of the city. Fighting continued outside of Dublin, and the Irish government still controlled by Free Staters initiated official military operations. The government took strong measures to quell the civil war, including executing Republican leaders.

The Republican resistance became less organized. By early , Republican forces had ceased fighting. De Valera, the Republican leader, ordered a cease-fire. A few years later, he re-entered the Irish political scene. He formed a new political party and served several times as Ireland's prime minister. In , Ireland finally gained complete independence. The six counties of Northern Ireland, however, remained part of the United Kingdom.

O'Flaherty became most known for his stories about nature, animals, and Irish peasants, not for the stories he wrote about urban Ireland. Of his numerous stories, only four stories deal with the Irish civil war, while another handful are set in Irish cities. However, according to James M. Calahan, author of Liam O'Flaherty: A Study of the Short Fiction , O'Flaherty's political stories cannot be separated from the others, for "politics permeate all of his works.

Generally, O'Flaherty's urban stories present a bleak view of humankind. Kelly, writing in Liam O'Flaherty: The Storyteller , noted that such stories "contain much despair and any humour is at man's expense. The few critics who have directly explored "The Sniper" tend to disagree over a crucial aspect: O'Flaherty's position on the Irish civil war. In his essay "The Position of Liam O'Flaherty," which was published in Bookman , William Troy commended "The Sniper," along with the short story "Civil War," both of which deal with the "real and imagined circumstances" of the Irish civil war.

Troy wrote that these stories "constitute the most remarkable record of the period which we are likely to receive: the most complete because derived largely from personal observation and participation; the most reliable because written without any other bias than that of artistic selection. Kelly contradicted parts of Troy's statement.


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  • Kelly did agree that O'Flaherty drew upon his personal experiences to write "The Sniper. O'Brien, would also seem to agree that O'Flaherty condemns warfare. In his discussion of O'Flaherty's short stories, entitled Liam O'Flaherty , O'Brien wrote that "the open, matter-of-fact presentation of the shooting and the pain of the wound makes the revelation that brother has shot brother the final atrocity in a barbaric world. Of all the critics, Kelly has paid the most attention to "The Sniper. Korb has a master's degree in English literature and creative writing and has written for a wide variety of educational publishers.

    In this essay, Korb considers how "The Sniper" demonstrates the division the Irish civil war has inflicted on society. In crafting his first published short story "The Sniper" O'Flaherty took as his setting and dramatic impetus an issue that he knew well: the Irish civil war of the early s. In this story, two snipers on opposing sides of the conflict face off in a duel.


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    • The hero of the story prevails. He kills his enemy, thus assuring his survival, at least for the moment. Only after his enemy is dead, however, does the sniper make a startling revelation: the enemy sniper is his own brother. The story does not address the problems of the civil war from any historical perspective; notably, O'Flaherty makes no mention of the Anglo-Irish Treaty that sparked the civil war or the ongoing problems the native Irish had with the British rulers.

      O'Flaherty need not do so, for the Irish and British reading audience in the s was well versed in the ongoing troubles that surrounded Ireland and its relationship to the United Kingdom. Modern readers, as well as non-Irish readers, however, likely may need to be reminded that in the spring of , fighting broke out in Ireland over the Anglo-Irish Treaty. This agreement would make southern Ireland an independent state within the British Commonwealth and leave the six counties in northern Ireland part of Great Britain.

      Free Staters, who supported the treaty, and Republicans, who opposed it, took up arms and fought for control of Ireland's government and national spirit. O'Flaherty—who fought for the Republicans at the famous Four Courts rebellion—wrote "The Sniper" within months of this incident; "The Sniper" first appeared in a London magazine in January So, at the time of the story's writing and publication, the civil war was still going on.

      This detail of timing may cause readers to more closely examine O'Flaherty's story for a political message about the civil war. It also immediately renders more provocative O'Flaherty's choice to create a narrative with what A. There are different reasons O'Flaherty may have chosen to treat the subject this way, however. By making the sniper less of an individual and more of a type character, O'Flaherty imbues him with him greater symbolic meaning.

      The sniper comes to represent all soldiers, both Republican and Free Starters. Indeed, the sniper could be any soldier, caught up in any deadly conflict. O'Flaherty's stylistic device also shows his lack of interest in using his writing as any sort of political propaganda. He does not try to use words and thoughts to win the reader into siding with the sniper, though the man served in the same army as O'Flaherty. Nor does he try to manipulate the reader into feeling that the sniper is a monster.

      Instead, with his carefully chosen words he presents the situation in as straightforward a manner as possible and then retreats, allowing the reader to draw conclusions. He even resists temptation to comment on the sniper's discovery that he has killed his brother. Instead, O'Flaherty ends the story on this devastating, potentially life-altering fact. Such narrative detachment is in keeping with O'Flaherty's choice not to present an overall picture of the Irish civil war.

      O'Flaherty does not describe such incidents as the raging battles, the Four Courts seizure and bombing, or the assassinations of major leaders from both sides of the conflict. Instead, O'Flaherty creates only four characters—two of whom appear only briefly—and selects a few specific details that show the effects of the conflict on Irish society.

      O'Flaherty begins this task in his opening paragraph, describing the noise from the machine guns and rifles that "broke the silence of the night, spasmodically, like dogs barking. He is pinned on a rooftop by the enemy sniper across the street and the armored cars and soldiers down below. Thus in a few sentences, O'Flaherty effectively sets the scene, both for the battle that lies ahead, as well as for the sniper's supreme isolation. On the one hand, this battle between the two snipers represents the larger battle between the Republicans and the Free Staters.

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      The Republican sniper becomes engaged in fighting both the Free State sniper on the opposing rooftop, as well as Free State forces in the streets below. When the Republican sniper descends from his rooftop at the end of the story, even more Free States forces at the end of the street fire upon him with their machine guns. However, it is the enemy sniper who emerges as his main foe.

      This is the man whom the Republican sniper most fears and who seems to have the most capability of either killing him or cutting off his escape. The perk synergises extremely well with weapons capable of burst fire, as every shot in one burst is upgraded. With the Sniper perk, your chance to hit an opponent's head in V. As with most perks that increase your chance to hit in V.

      Meet the Sniper

      Sniper is a perk in the Nuclear Winter battle royale mode. Once discarded, any fight action performed for the rest of the turn can be used to target any enemy on the world map, as long as the player character is equipped with a ranged weapon. You don't waste bullets on flesh wounds. When using firearms, your successful attack rolls are increased by 30 for purposes of determining critical hit results. Sign In Don't have an account? Start a Wiki. Contents [ show ]. Like Gunslinger and Commando for your other weapon types , this allows further flexibility when utilising any nonauto scoped rifle.

      A list of this weapon type is provided in the Weapons chapter. If you favor these types of guns, this is your first perk choice. Perks in Fallout. Perks in Fallout 2. Perks in Fallout 3. Perks in Fallout: New Vegas. Perks in Fallout 4. Perks in Fallout Perks in Fallout Tactics. Perks in Fallout: The Board Game. Perks in J.

      Sawyer's Fallout RPG. Sawyer's Fallout RPG perks. Hidden category: Articles with verified bugs. It's all about focus.

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