The Sniper Short Story Activities

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'The Sniper' is a short story by Liam O'Flaherty about the Irish Civil War. The following activities may be used in a secondary classroom to further comprehension of this story. Updated: 10/03/2019

The Sniper

Liam O'Flaherty's 'The Sniper' is a short story that explores the horrors of war. Ireland was in the midst of a Civil War at the time of its publication. As teachers use this resource in a secondary classroom, students will learn about the background of the war and participate in activities related to the themes of war, division, and remorse.

Provisional Government v. IRA

Students will research background information related to the Irish Civil War and engage in a debate. Following the debate, both sides of the argument will create a compromise.


  • Computer/Internet.


  • Divide students into two groups. Assign one group to represent the Provisional Government and the other group to represent the IRA.
  • Students will research the Anglo-Irish Treaty to determine its pros and cons.
  • Students will take notes to justify why pro-treaty and anti-treaty sentiment was so strong.
  • Students will develop logical arguments for the side they have been assigned and against the positions of the other side.
  • Divide students into groups of 4-6 students with 2-3 students from each side meeting together.
  • Students will debate the treaty.
  • Students will work together to develop a compromise.
  • Each group will share and discuss their compromise with the rest of the class.


Students will examine the theme of remorse by writing a eulogy from the perspective of the sniper.


  • Computer/Internet.


  • Students will research examples of eulogies to determine what components should be included.
  • Divide students into small groups to brainstorm the mixed feelings that the sniper likely had towards his brother and how those feelings may have manifested in their interactions with each other.
  • Students will independently write a eulogy from the perspective of the sniper to be read at his brother's funeral.
  • Students will recite the eulogy to the class.


Students will examine different types of conflict from the story.


  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Drawing paper
  • Colored pencils

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