The Sniper By Liam O’Flaherty
Characterization Characterization is the process by which the writer reveals the personality of a character. Characterization is revealed through direct characterization and indirect characterization. Direct Characterization tells the audience what the personality of the character is. Example: “The patient boy and quiet girl were both well mannered and did not disobey their mother.” Explanation: The author is directly telling the audience the personality of these two children. The boy is “patient” and the girl is “quiet.”
Indirect Characterization shows things that reveal the personality of a character. There are five different methods of indirect characterization: Speech: What does the character say? How does the character speak? Thoughts: What is revealed through the character’s private thoughts and feelings? Effect on others toward the character: What is revealed through the character’s effect on other people? How do other characters feel or behave in reaction to the character? Actions: What does the character do? How does the character behave? Looks: What does the character look like? How does the character dress?
This story takes place on a rooftop in Dublin, Ireland during the Irish War of Independence. In 1919, the newly formed Irish Republican Army fought to liberate Ireland from the British. Unable to contain these rebels, the British agreed to create an Irish Free State. However, the agreement would recognize the Free State only as a part of the British Commonwealth of Nations. This agreement allowed the British to maintain ports in Ireland, and required the Free State to pay part of the debt Britain incurred during the war. Not all Irishmen accepted the agreement. Once-united Irish fighters were now split into two factions–disgruntled IRA members and supporters of the Free State–and fought a civil war. O’Flaherty, himself a member of the IRA, centers his short story on a scene of fighting in Dublin in which an IRA sniper shoots at Free Staters from a rooftop.
Assignment Write a personal letter from the main character of The Sniper to his mother explaining what happened to his brother. Pay attention to voice. Really think about what the character might be feeling and write your letter accordingly. We will begin work on this in class. The letter is due at the beginning of class tomorrow.
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