Dehumanization In The Sniper

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War stories are gruesome. They capture the reality of war--death, grief, and pain. “The Sniper” and “Where Have You Gone, Charming Billy?” (by Liam O’Flaherty and Tim O’Brien respectively) are both shining examples of this; unpacking the glorification of victory to reveal how humans are dehumanized and trained to kill other people. Their differences outline a common theme: how war dehumanizes people from killing and guilt, and how that all builds into a catastrophe later on in life. “The Sniper” is a story set in times of the Irish Civil War, depicting a Free Starter sniper who undergoes a huge change in the face of killing an enemy sniper. He is dehumanized from pain and killing others, seeing people only as targets. He is also desensitized to aspects of the war most civilians would be very afraid of, which is shown through the pain of when he gets shot in the arm--the narration only depicts it as a “deadened sensation”. However, once he finally succeeds in killing the enemy sniper, “the lust of battle of battle died in him”--meaning that he’s no longer desensitized from war. The story also states that “He became bitten by remorse”, meaning that he no longer sees the enemy sniper as a target, but rather a person; this also signifies the end of his dehumanized war state. This sudden humanization is reinforced by the last plot …show more content…
In the sniper’s story, he goes from a process of dehumanization to humanization, while Paul eventually starts to slowly dehumanize himself from war. Dehumanization as a result of war is inherently ironic, which is demonstrated with these two dynamic characters: the sniper dehumanizing himself so he wouldn’t feel guilt over killing others leads to him killing someone he very much cares about, and Paul trying to dehumanize himself so as to cope with Billy Boy’s death results in near

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