In this Irish war we have two sides, but this can also be reflected in the two sides within the Sniper himself. The Sniper seems experienced yet amateur, cold yet emotional, lusting for war yet hating it, self-assured yet vulnerable, and clear-minded yet mad; he is a living contradiction.
The Sniper exhibits qualities that are both experienced and amateur. O’Flaherty describes the Sniper as “a man who is used to looking at death”, from which we can infer that the sniper has seen many deaths, since a person who is exposed frequently to death gradually grows senseless to it. In the passage, “There was a flash and a bullet whizzed over his head. He dropped immediately.”, we can tell from the “dropped immediately” that the sniper has exceedingly quick reflexes, something usually apparent in those who are experienced in the techniques of war.
By contrast, the Sniper also possesses many traits of an amateur soldier. He is described as having “the face of a student”, and had been fasting because “he was too excited to eat”. The word “student” has the connotation of one who is young, inexperienced, and still learning, while his excitement implies that this fighting was new to him, because most people tend to be excited at new experiences. Furthermore, when passage states that as he heard the enemy car draw nearer “his heart beat faster”, which is another portrayal of his eagerness and desire to fight. Thus we see a disparity in the Sniper’s character, which is both experienced and amateur.
Another contradiction with the Sniper is that he is both apathetic and emotional. O’Flaherty described his eyes as having a “cold gleam”, and “cold” has the connotation of lacking feeling. In the scen…
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…his mental strain grows as in the midst of anger he “laughs”, although he has no reason to laugh what we picture as a maniacal laugh. Moreover, the sniper was drunk: “Taking the flask from his pocket, he emptied it at a draught. He felt reckless under the influence of the spirit”. The feeling of recklessness combines with his already crazy state of maniacal laughing to portray a sniper that has gone quite mad.
In conclusion, the Sniper is, interestingly, a complete contradiction in himself. He is both experienced and amateur, cold and emotional, lusting after war and hating it, self-assured and vulnerable, and logical and mad. This stark paradox may create much of the inner conflict that goes on within the Sniper, and also reflects the outer conflict of the Irish war- a war where both sides are essentially opposing parts of the same whole.
The Arrogance of The Lie by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
The Arrogance of The Lie
The Lie, written by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., is a story that stands as a mirror to reflect the ugly image of a condescending faction obsessed with grades and numbers, not actual learning. Even though it took place years ago, the sickening mind frames still exist in some of today’s people. They are namely the “elite group” or middle to upper class families. In the story, Doctor Remenzel is obsessed with Eli having a high standard of excellence, Eli getting special treatment because he is part of the higher group, and for those reasons, Eli is ashamed of himself, and terrified of telling his father and mother that he failed the entrance examinations. All of these things are examples of what happens in the arrogant sub culture which exists today.
During the beginning of the story, Doctor Remenzel is obsessed with the idea of his son Eli looking good. An example of this would be when Doctor Remenzel meets his friend Tom on the way to the school. “Doctor Remenzel pointed to the chaos of the back of Eli’s head; beamed that his news was the same.” The word beamed, and the whole fact that the Doctor had to point out that his son was too going there implies that he is proud and wants to show him off. A comment that Doctor Remenzel makes that implies his son is “better” than others is when referring to another person getting in, he makes the remark of, “If he’s smart enough.” The Doctor is obviously saying that Eli is much smarter than some.
This relates to the condescending faction because the parents of these…
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…d constitute “failing” in their case) they feel ashamed because they did not meet the expectations created by their parents or other authorities.
In conclusion the whole idea is alarming. How could anyone possibly get so egotistical and self-centered? The Lie is one prime example of how our culture has been divided and distorted. Some put their own well being into others, perhaps because of a missed opportunity, or maybe just because of their state of mind. Image, special privileges, and fear of disappointing are just some of the things that classify both the story and our sub culture. It is a wonder if we will ever stop putting so much on numbers and grades, and start focusing on what is really important: learning. The sub culture sure needs to.