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How does the author depict the turmoil and plight in a war torn city in 'The Sniper'?

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Introduction

How does the author depict the turmoil and plight in a war torn city in 'The Sniper'? The author Liam O'Flaherty starts his story by making a proper setting for a war raged city of Dublin. He directly gets to the point. There is no complication what so ever about the way he has made the setting. He sets the city in darkness except for the moon light which gives a 'pale light as of approaching dawn.' The evening has passed away into hours of darkness and everything seems calm like the darkness until the poet describes the thundering of the heavy guns, 'heavy guns roared.' He compares these guns to the 'dogs barking on the lone farms.' He probably says this because just like the dogs the guns are breaking the silence of the night for no proper reason. The dogs barking in fields are intruders, in the same way the guns are also the intruders in the city of Dublin. They have no proper reason to be there but just because man hasn't stopped them they are there. ...read more.

Middle

Even though he is not allowed to he 'risks a smoke.' He is alone. His family is not even mentioned thorough out the story except at the end. He is totally lost in the war, between the enemies to think about anything else. Shortly then the boy himself is hit by a bullet but yet he is all alone. What ever is to be done to his wound has to be done by him. He dresses his wound on his own 'taking out the field dressing.....tied the end with his teeth.' There is no one to look after him even when in pain and there are so less medications that the boy has to overcome his pain through will power 'effort of will to overcome the pain'. Yet there is no mercy on the boy. His enemy is still there stopping him from going back to where ever he wanted. It is only up to him to either surrender to his enemy or make a plan and escape. The determined boy does make a plan and kill his enemy but this is not the end of it all. ...read more.

Conclusion

The same is the situation with other character (the man in the car, the old lady and the person on the opposite rooftop). They are all these boy's enemies which means they are fighting for the Free States that's all the reader knows. The climax of this story is also placed on this anonymity. There is one enemy of the boy who is there throughout the story; the boy on the other side of the roof. The republican boy does hatch a plan and kill him but only as his enemy. It is shortly later that the author reveals who the boy is. 'Then the sniper turned over the dead body and looked into his brother's face.' This is the last sentence of the story where the author reveals that the enemy who put the republican boy in pain and trouble was his own brother. They both had got divided in the army and had become each other's enemies. The war had actually made them enemies. Just like the war, the author ends his story in a very vague manner. He leaves the victims in pain even when they should actually be happy because the war has ended. Thus Liam O'Flaherty throughout his short story brings out the troubles and pains caused by the war. ...read more.

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Related AS and A Level War Poetry essays

  1. "The Sniper" by Liam O'flaherty - review

    He is also nervous: 'taking a flask of whiskey from his pocket, he took a short draught' and 'his heart beat faster'. He isn't made of steel and feels pain: 'he ground his teeth to overcome the pain'. He feels guilty about killing his enemy: 'he revolted from the sight of the shattered mass of his dead enemy'.

  2. In Liam O'Flaherty's

    He is nothing more than a "Republican sniper" as we can see that nowhere in the story is his name mentioned. He is an individual who fades in the light of the general. The setting of the story is in a war-torn part of Dublin where the sniper is perched on a rooftop.

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