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This page updated on Friday, February 1, 2013 8:32 AM


"The Sniper" short story

Homework Questions Wk 3

(Earle my boy, where did you get to? Gavril gave me his notes at the end of the lesson and I photocopied them for you - who disappeared!)

  1. How does the exposition / orientation of The Sniper (which is about two or three paragraphs in this story) engage the reader? Your answer needs to consider:

    • SETTING of the story - where, when and what atmosphere is created;

    • CHARACTER - what kind of person is constructed;

    • ACTION - what is happening (ie the context or background of events); what conflict / complication /suspense is established.

  2. How does O'Flaherty's style (his word choice, types of words, use of description, evocative language and use of word pictures, his sentence length and sentence structure, the way he writes in general) help engage and hold the reader's attention ?

  3. Narrative Structure : The way events in a story are presented, the order of these events. Narrative structure, along with those points above, also plays a part in grabbing and holding the reader's interest.

    1. List the events that take place in the order they occur in the story.

    2. Explain which events are expanded or contracted. That is, which events have been stretched out because of detailed description (expansion); which have been covered in a limited, brief manner, overlooking specific details (contraction)?

  4. What do you believe is the theme of The Sniper? Explain with supporting evidence from the story. Answer in about half a page. As mentioned in class, consider how the actions of the sniper are presented before the shooting. Is he a good guy, a bad guy? Neither? How does he immediately feel and respond when he kills? And then? At the climax, with a twist to the story, he turns over the body to discover his own brother. Why does O'Flahertuy construct the story in this way?


Read your short story for Friday's test. Go over what we covered in class on The Sniper (specific quotes will help you) and if you have time, re-read The Sniper.


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