Action Without Thought In 'The Sniper'

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Liam O’Flaherty’s realistic fiction story, “The Sniper” takes place in Dublin, Ireland. The main character is a sniper fighting a civil war. He is on the Republican side who is fighting against the Free Staters. He does not put a lot of thought into his actions and it ends up costing him something big in the end. By using irony and description O’Flaherty shows that action without thought can lead to serious repercussions. Actions without thought are a major part of the story and without thought the main character in the story is impacted differently. In the story, the main character lights a cigarette while another sniper across the street is trying to shoot him. This is a very dangerous move to make because someone is trying to shoot…show more content…
In the text it says, “Then the sniper turned over the dead body and looked into his brother’s face.” and early on in the story he wonders if he knew the other sniper, and ironically it was someone he knew very well (4). He is caught up in annihilating the enemy, he only stops to think about who the other sniper is. O’Flaherty uses irony to show how the sniper ends up killing his own brother and only after he shoots him he wonders if he knew him. In addition to the irony, O’Flaherty also uses description to develop this idea of action without thought. He gives us a vivid description of the sniper that makes us wonder about him, “His face was the face of a student, thin and ascetic, but his eyes had the cold gleam of a fanatic. They were deep and thoughtful, the eyes of a man who is used to looking at death” (1). These two sentences give us information of the sniper based solely on the words of the author. The way O’Flaherty describes him makes us think about what he does and who he actually is outside of being a sniper. This shows how the sniper’s actions without thought affect him for the worse. O’Flaherty establishes the theme of “The Sniper” by using description and irony. After the sniper turns over the dead body, he realizes what he has done. He was not thinking when he shot the enemy. His actions without thought end with him getting shot and him shooting and killing his brother. If he would have thought before he did things he would still have a brother. In “The Sniper”, O’Flaherty made the theme action without thought very evident by using description and
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