War Knows No Boundaries

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The Sniper by Liam O’Flaherty is a short story about a lone IRA sniper in Dublin, Ireland in 1922. The protagonist, who remains unnamed, represents how war affects everyone, regardless of which side they are on. Throughout the story, a recurring theme is present: war knows no boundaries. The protagonist encounters dangerous obstacles and must make difficult decisions, such as killing an informant and a turret gunner to protect himself, and later killing an enemy sniper in self-defense. However, the theme remains constant, as the protagonist’s actions and experiences demonstrate that war affects everyone, including innocent civilians and even family members. At the end of the story, the protagonist briefly considers leaving the military, but ultimately returns to his duty. The life lesson or theme of the story is that war knows no boundaries.

Table of Content

War knows no boundaries The author of the short story “The Sniper”, is written by Liam O`Flaherty. He has not named the protagonist in the story. He has done this so the reader can realize how the war affected everyone, including those who were on opposite sides of the war. Before the story starts there is a brief description of the plot. Late at night, a lone IRA sniper waits atop a rooftop in the heart of Dublin, Ireland. It is June of 1922. The main character has been on the rooftop since morning. As the protagonist goes through dangerous obstacles, there is a theme presented which is that “war knows no boundaries”.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph the theme is presented many times throughout the story. An example is when the IRA sniper observes that an informant has given his position to a turret gunner. This causes the IRA sniper to shoot and kill the turret gunner. He does this to protect his life. Right after he kills the turret gunner he shoots and kills the informer. He does this to show that the enemy can come in all forms. The informer which was an old woman was shot and killed and this especially shows that war knows no boundaries.

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While the story goes along the IRA sniper is on the opposite side of the shooting. He has now, after shooting the informer and turret gunner been spotted. The gunfire wounds him in the arm. This is an example of the theme as well. The protagonist has shot and killed now he is shot. War knows no boundaries apply to this example. Towards the end of the story the protagonist is pinned. The enemy sniper has the IRA sniper completely covered. So the protagonist needs to get out of it. He sets an ingenuous trap. The trap works and the protagonist kills the enemy.

Again the IRA sniper kills somebody. But the theme still applies. Death is a crucial part of war, and the war knows no boundaries so this includes death. At the very end of the story the protagonist goes across to the other building to see his dead enemy. Once he gets down to see him he looks right in his eyes and he was staring at his brothers’ eyes. At this moment the theme is very strong. The protagonist has just shot his brother, so it’s saying that war knows no boundaries. The protagonist was just doing his job, he never expected that to happen. It relates back to the theme again.

Throughout the entire short story the theme has been represented as war knows no boundaries. Though the theme has not changed the protagonist has. At the end once he kills the enemy sniper he changes and doesn’t want to be solder anymore. He then throws his gun on the ground and a bullet fires from the gun and whizzes by his head. Almost instantly he snaps right back into the military mode. A prediction that I have is that the protagonist in the future may learn from the theme that war is not the way to go. The life lesson or theme in this short story is that war knows no boundaries.

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War Knows No Boundaries. (2016, Dec 11). Retrieved from


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