Analysis of “The Sniper” by Liam O’Flathery
The Sniper is a short story written by Liam O’Flathery, an Irish author, who fought for the independence of Ireland. The short story was printed January 12, 1923 as O’Flathery first published work.
The story takes place in Ireland’s capital city, Dublin. The year is probably around 1922, where the Irish Free State has just been established. The Anglo-Irish Treaty was agreed by London and it created an Irish Free State, but it was under the dominion of the British Commonwealth, which led to a lot of chaos in Ireland, because it did not in fact make Ireland independent, but connected the nation with Britain, which was a hot topic at that moment. The IRA (Irish Republican Army) was now split between supporters and rejectors of the Free State, and they fought a civil war (p. 1, l. 7). In the story we are near the lake dividing North and South Dublin, called the Liffey (p. 1, l. 4), where our main character is positioned on a rooftop near O’Connell Bridge which crosses the Liffey. The main character is a sniper, therefore the title, and he works for the Republican Army (p. 1, l. 8). The sniper is under fire, but by tactical and smart thinking he takes the 3 enemies in sight out, though he is injured, and incapable of using his right arm (p. 2, l. 25). The last kill makes him lose the lust of battle, and the remorse rises in his body. Later on he discovers that one of his kills, and the one who opened fire at him, was his brother.
It is a 3rd person narrator, which observes as a fly on the wall with the sniper as the focus. He is omniscient and able to tell what the sniper thinks and feels, but not the other characters. The main character is described as young, “His face was the face of a student, thin and ascetic”, but also as one who had experienced death, which could mean that he had been in a war before. The author, Liam O’Flathery, was born in 1896 and served during World War I, only five years before the...
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