Themes and message



The theme of the short story “The Sniper” by Liam O’Flaherty is war.

During war, enemies are dehumanized, seen as monsters or targets. For instance, the sniper sees the enemy car as “the grey monster”. He is glad when his bullet hits the enemy sniper, just like hitting a lifeless target in a game. He kills an old woman dispassionately, just because she reported on him to the enemy. This shows that being in combat has changed the sniper’s perception of the world around him. He does not feel emotionally connected to his victims and has no second thoughts about shooting them.

The title of the story, “The Sniper”, is also consistent with this idea. Throughout the narrative, the main character is referred to only as “the sniper”, suggesting that his military occupation def...

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