Contradicting Character of The Sniper Essays

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Contradicting Character of The Sniper

In this Irish war we have two sides, but this can also be reflected in the two sides within the Sniper himself. The Sniper seems experienced yet amateur, cold yet emotional, lusting for war yet hating it, self-assured yet vulnerable, and clear-minded yet mad; he is a living contradiction.

The Sniper exhibits qualities that are both experienced and amateur. O’Flaherty describes the Sniper as “a man who is used to looking at death”, from which we can infer that the sniper has seen many deaths, since a person who is exposed frequently to death gradually grows senseless to it. In the passage, “There was a flash and a bullet whizzed over his head. He dropped immediately.”, we can tell from the “dropped
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Even when the Sniper was shot himself, he felt no pain, muttering simply “I’m hit”.

Yet paradoxically, the Sniper does show quite a bit of emotion. For example, after killing the other sniper, “…he peered across and uttered a cry of joy.” Later on, after “the dying man on the roof crumpled up and fell forward” the Sniper “shuddered” and “became bitten by remorse”. In addition he “revolted from the sight…His teeth chattered, he began to gibber to himself, cursing the war, cursing himself, cursing everybody”. This surprising transition, from triumphant to regretful to angry, is completely packed with emotion, and stands as a bright contrast against the unemotional beginnings of this character.

Another inconsistency in the Sniper’s character is that he lusted for war, yet despised it. When the Sniper had been “too excited to eat” the word “excited” has a positive connotation of eagerly awaiting for something, in this case, battle. In addition when the Sniper spotted his enemy he “smiled and lifted his revolver above the edge of the parapet”, preparing to shoot, “his hand trembled with eagerness”. In smiling, the Sniper is happy that he is about to kill, and his hand “trembled with eagerness” to show his impatience to shed blood.

On the opposite side, the Sniper also shows a certain hatred for war, mainly after he shot the other Sniper, and “the lust of battle died in him”. After

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