Remember that there are several types of irony (situational, dramatic, verbal, etc...). However, the major irony we are dealing with here is the situational irony: the idea that what we expect as readers is not the result we get at all (we don't expect a fire truck to be on fire, hence, situational irony).
So, in the case of O'Flaherty's "The Sniper", which takes place in the middle of Dublin along the Liffey River, during a time of civil war, the ironic twist at the end is what most turn to and what is most memorable. Clearly, the Republican sniper the narrator follows is supposed to eliminate enemies and threats. However, the threat he elminates is his own brother, and the reader does not expect that. We don't expect the protagonist to have such a close, personal connection to the figure he kills, a figure he regards as a "good shot", like himself. And from that we can infer that they grew up learning to shoot together.
Another instance of situational irony is the "old woman," the informant for the enemy which he kills. We don't expect an old person to take an active role in a civil war such as this. But her cover makes sense, since no one would suspect her of dealing with the enemy, and many would quickly and easily dismiss her. However, our sniper guns her down, something we might not necessarily expect as well.
Liam O’Flaherty did an excellent job in employing stylistic devices in “The Sniper”. There were significant amounts of imagery, which enhanced the reader’s imagination while reading the book. There was also a distinct symbol that portrayed the true theme of the story perfectly. I also found interesting irony at the end, which concluded the whole story restively.
The imagery throughout the story blew me away. O’Flaherty went
into such descriptive detail about the setting in Dublin, IRE. Throughout the story, I saw every scene with a vivid picture in my head, which made it very enjoyable to read. Imagery creates a picture so that you can actually sense what is happening, and I believe that O’Flaherty did an outstanding job with this stylistic device.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">If all symbols lead to a thesis, O’Flaherty surely proved that to be true. The symbol portrayed in The Sniper was the bullet. It represents sibling rivalries and family hardships. Throughout the story we came to find that him and his brother had a fight and weren’t quite fond of each other. Then finally, at the end he kills the Sniper and finds out that it was actually his brother whom he had fought with prior. If you look at this deep enough, you will see that if you take it too far with regret, you may have done more than enough.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Don’t you find it ironic that out of all people the sniper killed his brother? This was the irony displayed at the end of the story. We all found it ironic that he killed his brother who he had fought with before without even realizing it. He showed no empathy whatsoever until he walked over to see whom he had killed, then realized that he had simply gone too far. This is an excellent example of irony displayed in this story.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In all conclusions, this story had a vast amount of stylistic devices portrayed in every aspect possible. From reading this story, one would come to the conclusion that without any stylistic devices in any story it would be dull. Stylistic devices expand the reader’s imagination while reading the story, and make it more interesting.</p>