Tag Archives: sniper

Debate: Ireland

Although Ireland has gained independence since the the events of the O’Flaherty’s story “The Sniper” or Jordan’s film “Michael Collins,” Northern Ireland continues to be a place of conflict, which can be viewed in at least two ways:

  • Northern Ireland should remain separate from Ireland.
  • Ireland should become one country without a north and south division

Work in a group to debate these two opposing viewpoints. First, use print and electronic sources to research this conflict. Then decide on a statement to debate; for example, Northern Ireland should remain a separate country. Divide into two groups, one for and one against, and then prepare to debate with your classmates. Use the following guidelines as your prepare:

  • review the facts in your research
  • think about your opinion or the position you’ll be taking
  • prepare a persuasive argument about two minutes in length
  • work co-operatively with others on your team to develop three arguments that, but don’t repeat, each other
  • revise your argument
  • memorize and practice delivering your argument
  • during the debate listen carefully to the opposing team’s arguments
  • prepare your rebuttal (your response to the argument of an opposing team member)
2010 World Schools Debating Championship

Canada Wins 2010 World Schools Debating Championship

2010 WSDC Motions

2013 WSDC site

The Sniper

Read “The Sniper,” by Liam O’Flaherty.

Respond to the Story

  • Reread the first paragraph. What details in the author’s description of the setting establish the tone or atmosphere of the story?
  • What message about this civil war is Liam O’Flaherty trying to convey? How does his message compare to the theme in “War,” by Timothy Findley?
  • List words and phrases the author uses to describe the sniper and what he is doing. Write your own descriptions of him, using some or all of these words.
  • The sniper is the only character the author describes in great detail. Why do you think the author chose to do that?
  • Were you surprised by the ending? Why or why not? Did you find it a powerful ending?
  • Do you think such a story could occur in Canada? Give reasons for your opinion.

Write a Factual Report
Imagine you are the main character in “The Sniper.” You’ve just returned to your company and have been asked to write a report about what happened. List the events in the story in the order they occurred. Use a complete sentence for each event. Because this is an official report, leave out how you feel or what you thought–just include the facts as you saw them.

Essay Topics

  • After researching the life of Liam O’Flaherty, write an informative essay explaining the extent to which he based “The Sniper” on his own experiences.
  • Does urban warfare, like that in “The Sniper,” affect the outlook and mental stability of combatants differently than battlefield fighting?
  • Is modern Ireland still influenced by the outcome of the violence in the early 1920s?
  • In an informative essay, write a short psychological profile the IRA sniper.
  • Can the tactics of urban guerrillas–sniping, sabotage, terrorist bombings–be morally justified?