Liam O’flaherty’s Anticipation in The Sniper by Using Written Material

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 715 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Dec 12, 2018

Words: 715|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Dec 12, 2018

Stephen King, Gillian Flynn and Dan Brown all have one thing in common. They controlled the emotions of their readers with rises and falls with suspense. The Sniper by Liam O’Flaherty definitely kept the reader’s mind on alert until the end of it. A sniper on top of a roof in a dark and dangerous night; waiting for a chance to take down his enemy and fight for his belief. The story narrated a tale about the experiences of war and the dangers the young soldier facing. Details and structure pushed and pulled the reader’s interest. In the short story, The Sniper, Liam O’Flaherty uses setting, imagery, and pacing to create a feeling of suspense for the reader.

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Setting is the first device that Liam O’Flaherty used to created suspense in The Sniper. The narration of The Sniper let us know that the young soldier was in a dangerous situation, due to the darkness and somberness of how “the long June twilight faded into night” (163). The author set a setting of crepuscule to ensure the fact that the readers will feel the uneasy and anticipate. The narrator makes it very clear that the sniper was in a war zone, “Here and there through the city machine guns and the rifles broke the silence…” (163). The dangers were proximate to the sniper and he was in a dangerous scene. Over again, the detail of the lightlessness fall on the scene get repeated, “Dublin lay enveloped in darkness” (163). Darkness and tenebrosity are always warning signs of impending dangers.

The second device used by the author to create suspense is imagery. The narrator points out that the soldier is special in his own way, “His face was the face of a student – thin and ascetic, but his eyes of a man who is used to looking at death” (164). The statement helps young and teenaged readers relate to the story. They could put themselves in the story and imagine how unnerving and jeopardous the circumstance is. Injures are a part of war, no one can avoid it; same goes for our sniper. O’ Flaherty introduces the concept of pain and injury straight to the readers, “There was no pain – just a deadened sensation, as if the arms had been cut off.” (165). Empathy would be the leading emotion as the readers read the remark. It makes them feel the pain and the distress that the main character feels. This increases the suspenseful feeling. After an exhilarating description of the execution of the enemy, the story took a sudden turn with the declaration of the sniper’s guilt, “The lust of battle died in him. He became bitten by remorse.” (166). The sudden change suggests an unknown connection between him and the fallen enemy; therefore, pull the reader’s interest and attention.

Pacing is the last device that used to create suspense in The Sniper. Like many other great suspense story, The Sniper started out very dilatorily due to the descriptiveness of the passages. As the story sluggishly moved along, all of a sudden, the sniper got shot. The hit happened very fast, almost without any warnings for the readers. After the hit, the story went back to its slow route. The disruption in pace helps create the constant curiosity and the nonstop yearning to read more so they, the readers, can find out what will happen. The slowness of the pace was continued until the end. The Sniper’s ending was very brief in compare to the rest of the story. It described, quite abruptly, how the sniper figures out the identity of his enemy. This ending intrigues the readers even more. It leaves every little detail to the imagination of the readers: how will the sniper react, what will he does, ect. Anything could happen in the readers’ mind.

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The Sniper is a very inspiring story to read. Not just because it, in great details, described the Irish Civil War and its effects but also, it’s a great example of suspense. Setting, imagery and pacing – all the elements necessary to create suspense – were all very well used. The setting and imagery were for the sake of empathy and relation and pacing was to pull the interests of the readers.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Liam O’Flaherty’s Anticipation in the Sniper by Using Written Material. (2018, December 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from
“Liam O’Flaherty’s Anticipation in the Sniper by Using Written Material.” GradesFixer, 11 Dec. 2018,
Liam O’Flaherty’s Anticipation in the Sniper by Using Written Material. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Apr. 2024].
Liam O’Flaherty’s Anticipation in the Sniper by Using Written Material [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Dec 11 [cited 2024 Apr 17]. Available from:
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