Why we chose The SniperWe chose this story because it has a great insight into the Irish Civil War and it is relevant to the many conflicts the world faces today.The story has many moments where it hits close to home, like the India and Pakistan partition that took place in 1947. Many innocent people were slaughtered by their own neighbours and family members because of conflicts over religion and land, that caused the displacement of over 14 million people. This is why we chose this story because it’s relatable, therefore more interesting to analyse. Analysis of themesLooking at some of the common themes in literature there is one that is extremely relevant to add as a main theme to this story; The Great Battle theme.
It covers the story of people in conflict, sometimes good vs. evil and sometimes there is no specification given on who is good or bad. This is exactly what takes place here, a battle between mainly two people. However, it is also important to note that both snipers are not given any names throughout the story.
Only the sniper that the story follows is formally categorized as a supporter of the Republicans, nothing more. As we follow him and he has to fight to stay alive he becomes the protagonist of the story and the brother the antagonist.Another theme that in some ways might overlap The Great Battle theme, but important nonetheless, is war. Without a doubt is this a theme that is present in this story. The whole first paragraph is used to describe the civil war taking place in Ireland; “Dublin lay enveloped in darkness” “Around the beleaguered Four Courts the heavy guns roared.
” And it also points to the effect war can have on people; “Revolted from the sight of the shattered mass of his dead enemy. His teeth chattered, he began to gibber to himself, cursing the war, cursing himself, cursing everybody.” (O’Flaherty, 1923, p.
2). This moment in the story really shows how the theme of war and through which themes like death and grief are all present. As the sniper finds out he killed his own brother it is also shown that war can have a desensitization effect.
This can be seen by, as mentioned before, the author never giving either of them a name or any sense of personal attachment. It is just enemy against enemy. When faced with reality that these are actual people, more importantly his own brother, the sniper might have gotten out of the impersonal feelings of war and see it for its true nature. This is the most critical theme of the story, how war can blind you and desensitize your every course of action.
A third major theme of this story would be The Capriciousness of Fate theme. A dominant aspect of this theme is the reversal of fortune. As the story is told something often changes drastically, which can be both from good-to-bad and bad-to-good. In the case of this story it goes from good-to-bad. However, since we follow the story of a civil war and its devastating effects already from the beginning, it could be interpreted as going from bad-to-worse as well.
The time this reversal of fortune takes place is when the Republican sniper finds out he shot his own brother.