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Society's View Of The Soldier In "The Sniper"

804 words - 4 pages

Society’s view of the soldier
Present in many writings is a conflict between an individual and a group or a society. This conflict is generally caused by the individual deciding that one of the root beliefs of the society is immoral, wrong, or is hurting themselves. In “The Sniper” the main character is a soldier in a civil war when he isn’t mentally prepared. After killing a man the sniper has a breakdown and starts to rethink these ideals that have been thrust upon him.
The story takes place in Dublin, Ireland during a civil war between the Republicans and the Free Staters. Soldiers are expected to kill just to get the job done. They need to be ruthless, brave, and logical. As the ...view middle of the document...

If the reader backs up and sees it from a larger point of view they can imagine it too. What is one life anyways when you are trying to win a war? With this one though countless soldiers have convinced themselves to continue fighting because it is their patriotic duty.
With society asking for such perfect soldiers, the sniper begins to realize that he isn’t the right fit for what they ask of him. This shows immediately after the sniper kills the man on the other roof, “The sniper looked at his enemy falling and he shuddered. The lust of battle died in him. He became bitten by remorse… he revolted from the sight of the shattered mass of his dead enemy,” (O’Flaherty 4). The sniper is feeling guilty that he has killed the man by tricking him and then shooting him when he least expected it. He realizes that he just took a mans life and he knows that there is no going back. Although this was cowardly, it was effective. Any superior officer would congratulate him for his ingenuity because they need men who are willing to make these cheap moves to eliminate those on the other side that are also using cheap tactics to kill. He would also be congratulated because they...

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