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“The sniper” takes place during the civil war in Dublin in the 1920s. The story is written in a limited point of view, so it is not omniscient.
It is just limited to one character. The effect is a heightened suspense and subjectivity.
Furthermore you can identify yourself with the sniper, because you get a look at the emotions of the sniper.
One can divide the short story into parts.
The first part (ll. 1-11) is the description of the setting and the mood. The setting is descripted with colours and sounds, which create a mysterious, uncomfortable and dangerous atmosphere. The picture in the first part of “barking dogs on lone farms”, show the snipers behave like animals, which cannot think about their behaviour.
In the 2nd part (ll. 12-34) the situation of the sniper is descripted. He is taking the risk of smoking a cigarette, although the enemy could see the smoke.
In the 3rd part (ll. 35-53) the enemy appears, who is threatening the sniper.
In the 4th part (ll. 54-60) there is the second threatening of the sniper. He realizes the enemy is stronger. He shoots the woman and the tank driver.
In the 5th part (ll. 61-90) the injury of the sniper is descripted. In this duel both are hit and unable to shoot.
In the 6th part (ll. 91-130) the sniper has a plan for his escape. He drops his rifle, so the enemy thinks, he has won. He stands up and the sniper and the sniper takes the chance to kill his enemy.
In the 7th part (ll. 131-168) you get to know about the remorses of the sniper after the killing.
In the end is the climax of the story, when the sniper recognizes his enemy as his brother.
The purpose of the story is to show the senselessness of war.
If you want to make a characterization you have to distinguish between direct and indirect characterization. Direct characterization is just a description of the character, which is said in the text. In the indirect characterization you have to analyse the behaviour of the character.
In this short story it is directly said the sniper is a thin and ascetic face student. He is a fanatic, who is used to looking at death. Indirectly it is said the sniper feels remorse and guilty, because of the senseless killing. The sniper is ruthless, because he has even shot a woman. He is somebody who likes to take risks and has good reactions.