The Sniper: Summary, Questions, Theme

The Sniper: Summary, Questions, Theme 1

The Sniper: Summary, Questions, Theme

NCERT Solutions For Class 12 English

THE SNIPER SUMMARY

“The Sniper” by Liam O’Flaherty is a short war story. The story starts in darkness just before dawn in Dublin, Ireland, amid the Irish Civil War. It is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator. There is complete silence except for occasional guns and rifles which sound like dogs barking. It is also interesting to note the setting of the story. All of the events take place at night time. The author perhaps wants to highlight to the reader just how dark things can be when it comes to war.

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Near a bridge, a Republic sniper sits on a rooftop. After hungrily eating a sandwich, he takes whiskey and then lights a cigarette in spite of knowing that the blaze of his lighter may tip off his foe. It does, and an enemy sniper, a Free Stater, sends a bullet which hits the parapet of the roof he is on. The foe is just across the street undercover on the rooftop opposite to the Republican sniper. In the meantime, a heavily armoured car descends the road, and an old woman comes around the corner and talks to the man in the armoured car about the Republican sniper. Before the man in the armoured vehicle can shoot at the Republican sniper, the Republican sniper shoots the man dead. The woman tries to run away, but the sniper fires at her too and she falls into the gutter, screaming.


Distracted for a while, the enemy sniper on the other roof takes his chance and the Republican sniper gets hit in the arm by the bullet of the enemy sniper. In colossal pain, he can’t hold his rifle any longer because his forearm was dead. He pours a disinfectant over his injury, which is also incredibly painful. So as to get away, he puts his rifle on the edge of the rooftop with his cap over its muzzle; the enemy sniper takes the bait, shoots at it, and the Republican sniper shrewdly, makes it seem as though he has been killed.

The enemy sniper supposing he is out of danger stands up on his roof, and with a flood of pride and happiness, the sniper shoots him dead with his pistol. However, since the adrenaline of fight is finished, and the Republican sniper feels safe, “the lust of battle died in him. He became bitten by remorse.” He throws his gun “with an oath”, completes all the whisky in his flagon, and starts to go down to road level to report to his authority. But, when he reaches the road, he feels “a sudden curiosity as to the identity of the enemy sniper whom he had killed.”Dodging gunfire behind him, he reaches the dead body and throws himself at it, as though he has been executed, as well. At long last “the sniper turned over the dead body and looked into his brothers face.”

The Sniper

The Sniper” by Liam O’Flaherty

THE SNIPER | QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q. Describe, how the Republican Sniper nursed his wound?

Ans. The Republican Sniper felt that his right arm was deadened due to the shot by his opponent. He took his knife from the pocket and ripped open the sleeve.
He noticed that the bullet had entered the bone. He tried to overcome the pain. He took out his field dressing, opened the packet with his knife. He also put iodine on the wound.
He placed the cotton wedding over the wound and wrapped dressing over it. He tied the ends with teeth. Then, he lay still for a long time nursing his wounded arm and tried to control the pain.

Q. Why did the Sniper kill the man in the armoured car and old lady?
Ans. The sniper saw an armoured car after the firing of a bullet by the enemy. It was an enemy car. He wanted to fire, but it was useless because the bullet couldn’t pierce the steel body of the car.
Suddenly, the turret of the car opened. The man’s head and shoulder appeared. He also saw an old lady. She was an informer. The sniper raised his rifle and fired at the man before he could shot him.
The Sniper spotted the enemy’s head and shoulder. He was killed. The lady started running towards the street. The Sniper killed her also.

Q. Describe the Sniper’s encounter with the armoured car and his subsequent injury?
Ans. The sniper saw an armoured car after the firing of a bullet by the enemy. It was an enemy car. He wanted to fire, but it was useless because the bullet couldn’t pierce the steel body of the car.
Suddenly, the turret of the car opened. The man’s head and shoulder appeared. He also saw an old lady. She was an informer. The sniper raised his rifle and fired at the man before he could shot him.
The Sniper spotted the enemy’s head and shoulder. He was killed. The lady started running towards the street. The Sniper killed her also.
Suddenly, from the opposite root a shot rang out and the sniper dropped his rifle with a curse. The rifle dropped to the root. He bent to pick up the rifle, but he was unsuccessful. His forearm was dead. He was badly injured.

THE THEMES OF THE STORY

The Sniper by Liam O’Flaherty talks about the themes of violence and enmity. It demonstrates how wars blur an individuals identity. The story explores how people are affected especially those who participate or are ensnared in the war. The Republican sniper unwillingly shoots three people dead in the story. Firstly he kills the man in the armoured car, then the old woman and lastly the enemy sniper. The Republican speaker had no other alternative than either kill or be killed. The sniper was not so brutal but he has to kill even the old woman because he knows if she escapes she can inform any of the people from the enemy side about him. The story, therefore, shows how the wars blur the demarcation between the laymen and warriors. It is so blurred that even the old woman is enmeshed in the struggle and becomes a threat.

Therefore, war makes a circumstance in which people lose their capacity to see other human beings as full and nuanced humankind. It creates a situation where a human being is constrained to kill the other. Everybody turns out to be either a partner or a foe, either people who will encourage the Republican sniper or people who will kill him.

At the end of the story when the sniper understands that he has slaughtered his own brother, he should confront firsthand how constrained war and the ill will of war make a circumstance in which the characters move toward becoming blurred over. The feeling of remorse tells us much. What is more intriguing is the setting of the story? The events of the story mostly occur during the night time when it is dim. It is conceivable that O’Flaherty is using the setting to highlight to the reader exactly how dull things can be with regards to war.

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