Archive for April 13, 2020

Short Stories: “The Sniper”

Goals for the Week:

  1. Follow along with the daily readings of short stories.
  2. Decide on and begin a project from the Choice Board
  3. Continue to collaborate with teachers and classmates

Today’s Checklist:

  1. Understand the history of civil conflict in Ireland.
  2. Analyze the short story “The Sniper” by Liam O’Flaherty
  3. Consider why an author would use a twist ending.

Today’s Lesson!


  • ELAGSE9-10RL5 Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.

Learning Target: 

I can analyze an author’s choice to use a twist ending by reading “The Sniper” by Liam O’Flaherty so that I can understand how the ending changes the meaning of the work as a whole.


You may have heard the word “Brexit” thrown around before, discussing the UK’s plan to leave the European Union. One of the biggest problems with Brexit is the border between Northern Ireland (part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland (not part of the UK). This is an issue because for many years, Northern Ireland and Ireland were fighting a nasty conflict. Check out this video on the Irish border for some background context:

Work Session: 

Your assignment for this unit!

You will have one major assignment for this unit, and you get to choose it! Visit the choice board and select one project to complete about one story. In other words,

Today’s Story: “The Sniper” by Liam O’Flaherty

Today’s story is set during the Irish Civil War, which happened before The Troubles (which you heard about in our activator video). These civil conflicts in Ireland dominated the 20th century, and still cause political problems today.

Here is the full text of “The Sniper” by Liam O’Flaherty, and here is a YouTube video of the story being read aloud:

As we talk through the short story, consider the following questions:

  1. What is the mood and tone of the story? (Remember, tone is how the author feels, mood is how you feel.)
  2. Consider the setting. Does it seem like a strange setting for a war story, or a normal one?
  3. What do you think of the main character – does he seem like a nice guy?
  4. Were you surprised by the ending?
  5. What do you think the author was trying to tell us by using a twist ending?

Consider those questions as you read the story, and then move on to our closing session for today. And don’t forget to check out the Choice Board and think about which project you might like to do!

Closing Session: 

The story we read today contained a twist ending. Take a few minutes to consider some other stories with a twist – here’s a YouTube video of movies with the most shocking endings:

After watching the video, think about a movie you’ve seen or story you’ve read that has a twist ending. Why do you think the author/director/producer decided to switch it up at the very end? Did you see the twist coming? Do you think it was successful? Leave a comment with your thoughts 🙂

Looking Ahead: Tomorrow’s Checklist

If you want to get ahead on things, here is what we’re going to be doing tomorrow!

  1. Understand a moral dilemma
  2. Read and analyze the short story “Gentlemen, Your Verdict” by Michael Bruce
  3. Watch an episode from a television show or a scene from a movie about a moral dilemma