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The Sniper By Thomas Hardy Analysis Essay

“War does not determine who is right – only who is left.” This quote was written by Bertrand Russell, a British author, mathematician, and philosopher. This quote explains that in war it does not matter whether or not you do the right thing, but whether or not you know how to survive. This quote relates to Liam O’ Flaherty’s short story and Thomas Hardy’s poem. In “The Sniper” by Liam O’Flaherty and “The Man He killed” by Thomas Hardy both literary works show similarities and differences by the use of plot, irony, and theme.
In the two passages, there were many similarities, but there were also some differences throughout the plot. For example, in “The Sniper” the main character was a soldier at war who must kill his enemy to survive….

His enemy had been hit”(O’Flaherty 208). This quote explains how the sniper felt a sense of relief as he pulled the trigger killing his enemy escaping the chance of being killed. Similarly, in the poem, Hardy portrayed the main character as a determined man willing to kill in order to survive. “But ranged as infantry/ And staring face to face/ I shot at him as he at me/ And killed him in my place”(Hardy 5-9). This quote is showing how as the two sides lined up across from each other in battle, he was faced with the decision of whether or not to kill his enemy. Although there were similarities, there were also many differences throughout the plot. For instance, in “The Sniper”, O’Flaherty described how the main character’s curiosity led him to the discovery that he killed his brother. “He wondered did he know him… Then the sniper turned over the dead body and looked into his brother’s face”…

An example of a similarity is when O’Flaherty explained how the assassin felt remorse as soon as he realized his foe was dead. “He became bitten by remorse. The sweat stood out on his forehead… he revolted from the sight of the shattered mass of his dead enemy… he began to gibber to himself, cursing the war, cursing himself, cursing everybody”(O’Flaherty 208). This quote is explaining how as soon as the joy and relief faded, the sniper was soon filled with regret and shame. In the poem, Hardy described the similar reaction the main character had after he shot his enemy. “I shot him dead because/ because he was my foe… he thought he’d ‘list, perhaps,/ off-hand-like-just as I/ was out of work–had sold his traps/ No other reason why”(Hardy 9-10, 13-16). This quote is stating that as he was thinking about the death of his enemy, he realized they were not very different from each other. Even though the passages have some similarities by using irony, the story still have differences. For instance, when O’Flaherty revealed to us the surprising twist that the sniper killed his brother by using situational irony. “Then the sniper turned over the dead body and looked into his brother’s face”(O’Flaherty 208). This quote shows how as the sniper turned over the dead body expecting the enemy to be a stranger. The sniper soon discovered that his enemy was his own brother. On…

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