The Sniper: A Literary Analysis

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With great suspenseful writers such as Robert Goddard, authors such as Liam O’Flaherty and Nadine Gordimer are equally credited. Catching the attention with heart racing phrases such as “YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED” and “the enemy”, both authors of such intellect create the effect of surprise. The authors use key literary elements in creating suspense to add to the effect of surprise. The authors use elements such as imagery, pacing of events, and foreshadowing leading to a surprise ending. Imagery greatly contributed to the feeling of suspense throughout reading the two stories. Firstly, Gordimer uses this effect in the beginnings of “Once Upon a Time”. Nadine sets the tone for her story by contributing to the emotions with “...a creaking of…show more content…
This ending, however, can be foreshadowed. But, because all that affects the emotions during the time of reading, the surprise ending is in such a way that a reader is stunned. The last sentences of “The Sniper” include the following words of the ultimate surprise - “the sniper turned over the dead body and looked into his brother’s face”. This sentence has such a surprise factor, because who would have thought a man could kill his own blood brother with such ease. However, this ending is foreshadowed when the sniper first shoots his ‘enemy’ and feels “... bitten by remorse...weakened by his wound and the long summer day of fasting and watching on the roof, he revolted from the sight of the shattered mass of his dead enemy. His teeth chattered, he began to gibber to himself, cursing the war, cursing himself, cursing everybody.” Again, appealing to the emotions, as human beings, people tend to know and feel guilty or shameful when they know they have done something terribly wrong. A reader can feel this as well and be able to forecast the ending. In Nadine Gordimer’s story, however, the act of foreshadowing is easier to convey. In the story, as the parents agree, nothing terrible happens to them. For example, the father suggests a higher wall, and the mother replies with " You are right then the wall should be higher.” and the family continues to be unbothered by their “dangerous” neighborhood. However, when the two parents disagree for the first and only time in the story about the safety precautions when the mother argues “You’re wrong”, misfortune is deemed to come because of the lack of unity in the family. Also the use of “happily ever after” in the story when nothing exemplified the saying destined that something terrible were to happen. These effects re ultimate in creating surprise because they generate a feeling of the

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