The Sniper By Liam OFlaherty

The long June dusk faded into dark. Dublin lay enveloped in darkness but for the dim visible radiation of the Moon that shone through fleecy clouds, projecting a pale visible radiation as of nearing morning over the streets and the dark Waterss of the Liffey. Around the beleaguered Four Courts the heavy guns roared. Here and at that place through the metropolis, machine guns and rifles broke the silence of the dark, jerkily, like Canis familiariss barking on lone farms. Republicans and Free Starters were engaging civil war.

On a rooftop near O’Connell Bridge, a Republican sniper lay watching. Beside him lay his rifle and over his shoulders was catapulting a brace of field spectacless. His face was the face of a pupil, thin and ascetic, but his eyes had the cold glow of the overzealous. They were deep and thoughtful, the eyes of a adult male who is used to looking at decease.

He was eating a sandwich ravenously. He had eaten nil since forenoon. He had been excessively aroused to eat. He finished the sandwich, and, taking a flask of whiskey from his pocket, he took a short drouth. Then he returned the flask to his pocket. He paused for a minute, sing whether he should put on the line a fume. It was unsafe. The flash might be seen in the darkness, and there were enemies watching. He decided to take the hazard.

Puting a coffin nail between his lips, he struck a lucifer, inhaled the fume hastily and set out the visible radiation. Almost instantly, a slug flattened itself against the parapet of the roof. The sniper took another puff an put out the coffin nail. Then he swore quietly and crawled off to the left.

Cautiously he raised himself and peered over the parapet. There was a flash and a slug whizzed over his caput. He dropped instantly. He had seen the flash. It came from the opposite side of the street.

He rolled over the roof to a chimney stack in the rear, and easy drew himself up behind it, until his eyes were flat with the top of the parapet. There was nil to be seen — merely the subdued lineation of the opposite housetop against the bluish sky. His enemy was under screen.

Merely so an armoured auto came across the span and advanced easy up the street. It stopped on the opposite side of the street, 50 paces in front. The sniper could hear the dull heaving of the motor. His bosom round faster. It was an enemy auto. He wanted to fire, but he knew it was useless. His slugs would ne’er pierce the steel that covered the grey monster.

Then round the corner of a side street came an old adult female, her caput covered by a tatterdemalion shawl. She began to speak to the adult male in the turret of the auto. She was indicating to the roof where the sniper ballad. An betrayer.

The turret opened. A adult male ‘s caput and shoulders appeared, looking toward the sniper. The sniper raised his rifle and fired. The caput fell to a great extent on the turret wall. The adult female darted toward the side street. The sniper fired once more. The adult female whirled unit of ammunition and fell with a scream into the trough.

Suddenly from the opposite roof a shooting rang out and the sniper dropped his rifle with a expletive. The rifle clattered to the roof. The sniper thought the noise would wake the dead. He stooped to pick the rifle up. He could n’t raise it. His forearm was dead. “ I ‘m hit, ” he muttered.

Droping level onto the roof, he crawled back to the parapet. With his left manus he felt the injured right forearm. The blood was seeping through the arm of his coat. There was no hurting — merely a deadened esthesis, as if the arm had been cut off.

Quickly he drew his knife from his pocket, opened it on the parapet of the parapet, and ripped open the arm. There was a little hole where the slug had entered. On the other side there was non hole. The slug had lodged in the bone. It must hold fractured it. He bent the arm below the lesion. The arm set back easy. He ground his dentitions overcome the hurting.

Then taking out his field dressing, he ripped open the package with his knife. He broke the cervix of the iodine bottle and allow the acrimonious fluid trickle into the lesion. A fit of hurting swept through him. He placed the cotton packing material over the lesion and wrapped the dressing over it. He tied the terminals with his dentitions.

Then he lay still against the parapet, and, shuting his eyes, he made an attempt of will to get the better of the hurting.

In the street beneath all was still. The armoured auto had retired quickly over the span, with the machine artilleryman ‘s caput hanging lifeless over the turret. The adult female ‘s cadaver ballad still in the trough.

The sniper ballad still for a long clip nursing his hurt arm and planning flight. Morning must non happen him wounded on the roof. The enemy on the opposite roof covered his flight. He must kill that enemy and he could non utilize his rifle. He had merely a six-gun to make it. Then he thought of a program.

Taking off his cap, he placed it over the muzzle of his rifle. Then he pushed the rifle easy upward over the parapet, until the cap was seeable from the opposite side of the street. Almost instantly there was a study, and a slug pierced the centre of the cap. The sniper slanted the rifle frontward. The cap clipped down into the street. Then catching the rifle in the center, the sniper dropped his left manus over the roof and allow it hang, lifelessly. After a few minutes he let the rifle bead to the street. Then he sank to the roof, dragging his manus with him.

Crawling rapidly to his pess, he peered up at the corner of the roof. His artifice had succeeded. The other sniper, seeing the cap and plunder autumn, thought that he had killed his adult male. He was now standing before a row of chimney pots, looking across, with his caput clearly silhouetted against the western sky.

The Republican sniper smiled and lifted his six-gun above the border of the parapet. The distance was about 50 paces — a difficult shooting in the dim visible radiation, and his right arm was troubling him like a 1000 Satan. He took a steady purpose. His manus trembled with avidity. Pressing his lips together, he took a deep breath through his anterior nariss and fired. He was about deafened with the study and his arm shook with the kick.

Then when the fume cleared, he peered across and uttered a call of joy. His enemy had been hit. He was staggering over the parapet in his decease torment. He struggled to maintain his pess, but he was easy falling frontward as if in a dream. The rifle fell from his appreciation, hit the parapet, fell over, bounded off the pole of a Barber ‘s store beneath and so clattered on the paving.

Then the deceasing adult male on the roof crumpled up and fell frontward. The organic structure turned over and over in infinite and hit the land with a dull thump. Then it lay still.

The sniper looked at his enemy falling and he shuddered. The lecherousness of conflict died in him. He became bitten by compunction. The perspiration stood out in beads on his brow. Weakened by his lesion and the long summer twenty-four hours of fasting and watching on the roof, he revolted from the sight of the tattered mass of his dead enemy. His dentition chattered, he began to chatter to himself, cussing the war, cussing himself, cussing everybody.

He looked at the smoke six-gun in his manus, and with an curse he hurled it to the roof at his pess. The six-gun went off with a concussion and the slug whizzed past the sniper ‘s caput. He was frightened back to his senses by the daze. His nervousnesss steadied. The cloud of fright scattered from his head and he laughed.

Taking the whisky flask from his pocket, he emptied it a drouth. He felt foolhardy under the influence of the spirit. He decided to go forth the roof now and look for his company commanding officer, to describe. Everywhere around was quiet. There was non much danger in traveling through the streets. He picked up his six-gun and set it in his pocket. Then he crawled down through the fanlight to the house underneath.

When the sniper reached the laneway on the street degree, he felt a sudden wonder as to the individuality of the enemy sniper whom he had killed. He decided that he was a good shooting, whoever he was. He wondered did he cognize him. Possibly he had been in his ain company before the split in the ground forces. He decided to put on the line traveling over to hold a expression at him. He peered around the corner into O’Connell Street. In the upper portion of the street there was heavy fire, but around here all was quiet.

The sniper darted across the street. A machine gun tore up the land around him with a hail of slugs, but he escaped. He threw himself face downward beside the cadaver. The machine gun stopped.

Then the sniper turned over the dead organic structure and looked into his brother ‘s face.

The Sniper

A short narrative by Liam O’Flaherty


Write the prequel to the narrative.

Re-write the narrative from the brother ‘s point-of-view.

Re-write the narrative as a one act drama.

Assuming the function of the cardinal character, compose a missive to your parents informing them of your brother ‘s decease.

Extinguish the concluding line of the narrative and have pupils write their ain surrogate stoping.

Write a eulogium for the dead brother. Possible extension: have a little group of pupils function play the eulogium and funeral of the dead brother.

Write a verse form inspired by the narrative.

Re-write the narrative from the point-of-view of the female betrayer.

Write the dramatic soliloquy of the female parent upon hearing intelligence of her boy ‘s decease.

Write a journal entry from the point of position of any character or possibly an anon. perceiver who witnessed the shot.

Write a subsequence to the narrative.

Write the dramatic soliloquy of the sniper who all of a sudden realizes what he has done.

Assume the function of the sniper. Write a missive place to you mother explicating what you have done.

In your Response Journal react to the followers: “ What is one thing in your life that you feel repent about? ”

Fix an I-Search paper on the experience of veterans.

Who is Liam O’Flaherty? Research this writer on the Internet and in the library. Attempt to detect his motive for composing this narrative. Your concluding work may take the signifier of a timeline, PowerPoint Presentation, Bristol board undertaking, or a written paper.

You are a journalist and have been assigned the undertaking of describing on a fatal incident that took topographic point near O’Connell Bridge. Write a newspaper article from the ‘Republican ‘ position.

You are a journalist and have been assigned the undertaking of describing on a fatal incident that took topographic point near O’Connell Bridge. Write a newspaper article from the ‘Free State ‘ position.

Write a ‘free poetry ‘ or ‘concrete verse form ‘ presuming the character and emotions of the sniper as he all of a sudden comes to footings with what he has done.

Write a newspaper necrology for the dead brother.

Rewrite this short narrative puting it within the context of a current political struggle.


Using any medium available to you make a ocular representation of one scene from the narrative.

Using Lego blocks recreate a three dimensional representation of the scene near O’Connell Bridge. Research this country of Dublin. Determine the place of the gunslingers, the armored auto, and the betrayer in relation to the Liffey River and the span itself. Be prepared to discourse the narrative strategically.

Show a Readers Theatre version of The Sniper.

Make a montage of images, feelings, and words associated with your reading of the short narrative.

Have pupils function drama and interact as characters from the narrative. Bring the brother back from the dead and have him improvize a scene with the sniper.

Create storyboards of cardinal minutes in the text.

Sketch an Illustrated Comic Strip on the cardinal incidents and duologue of the short narrative.

Using the Internet research and research the symbolism and imagination of military uniforms. Plan the sniper ‘s uniform based upon what you know about his battle.

The struggle has ended and a statue is to be erected near the terminal of O’Connell Bridge. Its intent is unification and peace. The narrative of the two brothers has become legendary and as an creative person you wish to sculpt their emotions into your proposed statue design. Using any medium available to you – sculpt the statue.

Using digital picture and selected music animate the concluding minutes of the short narrative capturing the despairing battle and the concluding epiphany.

Using PowerPoint and digital picture taking restage this short narrative scene by scene. Layer your PowerPoint presentation with selected narrative from the short narrative. Add music and captions.

Make a series of 5 tableaus to recite the cardinal narrative of The Sniper. Perform it for the category.

Research assorted vocals of struggle that portion similar emotions to the short narrative. Burn them onto a Cadmium. Plan a Cadmium screen and on the insert sketch your method and agencies of choice. Choose one vocal, transcript its wordss onto an operating expense, and portion both with the category.

Research the traditional Irish Ballad. Using the incidents of the short narrative and the lyrical construction of the lay itself – compose The Ballad of the Sniper.

Have the pupils come up with a series of interview inquiries for the Sniper. As an extension – behavior the interview with another pupil role-playing the portion.


Originate a treatment about trueness in times of war ( i.e. household vs. beliefs ) .

Originate a treatment about the effects of guns.

Have pupils suggest and discuss alternate ways of work outing struggle.

Have pupils take part in little group treatment analyzing how they believe these brothers grew apart.

Have pupils see what the result of the sniper ‘s experience will be? What is in shop for him socially, emotionally, and personally?

Ask pupils to see what sort of things can drive households apart?

Have pupils see the commandment, “ Thou Shalt Not Kill. ” Does such a commandment apply to war? Why or why non?

In little groups ask pupils if they could of all time really kill person? Under what fortunes is killing slaying – and when ( if of all time ) is it considered a ‘duty? ‘

Discourse what you consider to be possible symbols within the narrative.

As a group discuss any grounds of ‘foreshadowing ‘ within the narrative.

Was it a good narrative or a bad one? Discuss utilizing grounds and illustrations to endorse up you sentiment.

Discuss the construct of ‘victims ‘ vs. ‘heroes ‘ in war. Who are terrorists and who are freedom combatants? Who is the victim in this instance?

What is the intent of war?

What does the reader see in the exanimate face of the brother?


Provide pupils with a preteaching list of Vocabulary and Geographical References for greater lucidity of comprehension.

Provide historical ‘crib sheets ‘ of the Irish experience at this point in history.

Research beginnings and supply chances for pupils to see docudramas and/or dramatic movie ( s ) on the Irish experience at this point in history.

Research Irish creative persons from this period and after who have represented their experience in ocular, musical, or written format. Supply chances for pupils to see and discourse them.

Stage a mini-lesson in context sing ‘point-of-view ‘ in short narratives. Discourse the writer ‘s pick in non doing this a narrative.

Have pupils highlight words, constructs, and topographic point names that they are non familiar with. In whole category treatment list these on the board and have pupils work together with the instructor to work out the jobs.

Highlight descriptive and nonliteral linguistic communication. Discuss its affect upon the reader. Stage a mini-lesson in context to link textual experience to definition ( e.g. “ machine guns and rifles broke the silence of the dark, jerkily, like Canis familiariss barking on lone farms. ” – simile: comparings utilizing similar or as ) .

Find another short narrative, drama, or gesture image that could be compared with The Sniper. Share this with your category.

Extra Entries


Write a missive from the position of the sniper ‘s female parent to her boy.

Analyze the sentence construction, temper, tone, etc. within the context of the narrative. Discourse the function words play and how they structurally enhance the narrative ‘s impact.


Concept a exposure narration of the narrative utilizing scanned, photocopied, or clipped ocular texts.

Develop a carefully considered sound path of this narrative. See the music that would pervade the gap scenes, the tense stand off, the decease of the betrayer, the sniper ‘s hurt, and so his desperate artifice. What piece of music would you reason with?

Make a montage of violent media texts.


Develop a talk show affecting the sniper and his household members inquiring inquiries about the incident.

Have a little group or whole category treatment about Fanaticism and Hate.

In braces or little groups discuss this inquiry: Is there a moral to the narrative?

In little groups – or as a category argument – put the sniper on test. Be his actions justified? Is the sniper a liquidator?

In braces or little groups discuss what it means to take another individual ‘s life. What would it take? Who things they could make it? Why?

Discuss the concern of war. See the type of personality a sniper would hold to hold. What sort of personality would be the antithesis of a sniper ‘s?

In little groups discuss stereotypes, cliches, and archetypical characters.

As a category, discuss masculine and feminine functions in society, and how they relate to the characters in Liam O’Flaherty ‘s short narrative.

In braces or little groups discuss the impact that faith has had on war and those who participate in war.


Research the function of the betrayer in warfare. How can such unsafe functions switch the tide of military and societal struggle?

Compare and contrast the struggle in O’Flaherty ‘s The Sniper to a current struggle in our present universe.

Make connexions to other war narratives and poesy. Make a bibliography of possible mentions.