Ben Gibson
Honors English One
Mrs. Kurtz
18 March 2015
Ironic Twists in Liam O'Flaherty's "The Sniper"
In 1921, Ireland seceded from England, but England wanted to maintain control over ports of the country. This led to Irish Civil War and divided once unified armies, pitting brother vs. brother. Liam O'Flaherty discusses the emotional journey of an I.R.A. sniper. There are many "ironic" twists in the story that reveal the theme or; war takes human kind and turns brother on brother to take and grieve with the consequences.
One surprising ironic moment that reflects the theme occurs when an innocent looking elderly woman turns out to be an enemy informant. The sniper defends his position from a roof top near O'Connell Bridge when he sees an elderly, shawled women approach. The women advances to a steel car and she points to "the roof where the sniper lay" (O'Flaherty 1). This is ironic because the reader would expect the enemy to be a seasoned, intimidating soldier. The sniper shoots her and she falls into the gutter. This ironic moment supports the theme that war takes human kind and turns brother on brother to take and grieve with the consequences. This ties in with the theme because now the sniper has to deal and grieve with killing an old lady.
Another unexpected ironic moment that reflects the theme occurs when the sniper gets into a gun fight. The sniper is in a standstill with another sniper and is hurt. He then tricks the other sniper to look like he has been killed by him then he kills his enemy. He watches the sniper fall to the ground and he "shudders as he falls and the lust of battle died in him. He became bitten by remorse "(3). This ironic moment is unexpected because at the beginning of the story he is fanatical and thoughtful about the prospect of killing and in the end he is bitten by remorse and lost the lust of battle. This ties in with the theme because after killing his enemy he is already grieving about the consequence of killing his enemy.
The most ironic moment in the sniper is when the sniper kills his enemy. The sniper is getting off the roof with the thought of his enemy's lifeless body in his mind. Bitten by remorse the sniper becomes curious about his enemy's identity. He is wondering if he might have known him before the split. The sniper sprinted across the courtyard to his fallen enemy's body and "turned over the dead body and looked into his brother's face" (3). This moment is so unexpected and ironic because in the heat of battle you don't expect your enemy to be your own family or kin. This ties in with the theme because it literally put brother vs. brother and now the sniper has to grieve with the thought of he killed his own brother.
Overall, the writer views that war creates killers who take and grieve with to turns brother on brother to take and grieve with the consequences of their actions. What the reader learns about life from this piece is that it is unforgiving and throws humanity's life in a tornado to twist and turn it. The irony lead into the meaning of the story by telling how it turned brother on brother and how the point of view of war changes in the sniper after grieving with the consequences of his actions.