Originally published in 1890 by author and Civil War Veteran Ambrose Bierce, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” is a short story that explores a civilian’s final moments before death during the Civil War. Centering on a man, this story opens on a profoundly ambiguous scene: preparations are being made for the hanging of a civilian man by Union troops on the Owl Creek bridge. The military men finish their preparations and step off of the plank, allowing the man to be hanged. The man, Peyton Farquhar, is a wealthy southern plantation and slave owner who strongly supports the southern cause. One day a Confederate soldier arrives at his house and informs Farquhar that the Union troops are preparing to advance via the Owl Creek bridge and if one were inclined to prevent this, it is possible to burn the bridge down. However, anyone caught doing so will be hanged immediately. It is revealed that the soldier is a Union scout. Returning to the present, Farquhar falls through the bridge but, miraculously, the rope breaks and he plunges into the river below, still alive. Farquhar makes his escape despite the Union gunfire and makes it back home to his wife and children. However, as he goes to embrace his wife, he feels a sharp pain in the back of his neck and sees a bright white light, and then nothing; Peyton Farquhar’s dead body is swinging beneath the Owl Creek bridge. In his short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” Ambrose Bierce blurs the line between life and death through both the distortion of time and Peyton Farquhar’s perception of reality.
Ambrose Bierce manages to blur the line between life and death in “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” through the distortion of ti...
... middle of paper ...
...etween life and death as Farquhar’s perception of reality while dying appears more real than the reality that he actually lives. As Joseph Zarro observed in The English Journal “Farquhar realizes the value of life, but only when vis-à-vis with death,” (Zarro 655).
Through the distortion of time throughout the narrative as well as Peyton Farquhar’s perception of reality, Ambrose Bierce skillfully manages to blur the line between life and death in his famous short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” As a talented American writer and Civil War veteran himself, Bierce was able to introduce his own view of warfare into this short story, which add to the already present themes of reality, time, and death. These themes work in unison to provide the reader with an intellectually satisfying and thought provoking short story that was expertly crafted by Ambrose Bierce.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Often times events occur in what seems to be mysterious ways to teach an individual a lesson. Choices made when individuals are young, and still growing and developing stick with them. As maturity happens, individuals tend to learn some of the potential consequences they could endure over certain decisions. Life is full of lesson. Life is living to learn how to become better. In this process choices have to be made, and consequences have to be faced. In Ambrose Bierce’s short story, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” the protagonist Peyton Farquhar makes a poorly thought choice leading to an unfortunate consequence.... [tags: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Ambrose Bierce]
1543 words (4.4 pages)
- “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” written by Ambrose Bierce, is about a man named Peyton Farquhar, who was being hung at the Owl Creek Bridge. This story takes place in the American Civil War era in Alabama where the Union army declared, “they would hang any civilian caught interfering with the railroad, its bridges, tunnels or trains.” Bierce uses many different themes in “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” but his standout, and most important, themes are man vs. himself, the battle, triumph over adversity, love conquers all, and death.... [tags: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Ambrose Bierce]
1100 words (3.1 pages)
- Perceptions In An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and The Story of an Hour, the authors use similar techniques to create different tones, which in turn illicit very distinct reactions from the reader. Both use a third person narrator with a limited omniscient point of view to tell of a brief, yet significant period of time. In An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Bierce uses this method to create an analytical tone to tell the story of Farquhar 's experience just before death. In The Story of an Hour, Chopin uses this method to create an involved, sympathetic tone to relay the story of Mrs.... [tags: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Ambrose Bierce]
1296 words (3.7 pages)
- Imagining Reality: The Presentation Of The Theme of Illusion VS Reality in “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" is a story of illusion, decision, and fate. It presents one with a very powerful scenario - one that questions the protagonist 's ultimate destiny, and the concept of good vs. evil. It defines the grey area of deeds by which most humans live, and uses powerful thematic concepts and devices to convey the author 's own value while leaving some space for the reader to make their own choice.... [tags: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Fiction, Grey]
1240 words (3.5 pages)
- George Orwell’s “A Hanging” and Ambrose Bierce’s “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” are two extremely different stories with one shared aspect; a hanging. One major thing in these stories are similar; however, there are a few small connections throughout both stories. But considering both stories involve an execution hangman style, the two more alike with each other than other short stories in the “Reading Literature and Writing Argument” book. Even though the writings have matching executions styles, the stories are utterly different.... [tags: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Ambrose Bierce]
872 words (2.5 pages)
- Literary Analysis In both “Chickamauga” and “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” Ambrose Pierce paints vivid images of both fantasy and reality. It seems that Bierce’s goal is to ultimately display reality as clearly and harshly as possible, and this is done by contrasting reality with fantasy. In both stories, Bierce creates a somewhat nightmarish world, and although sprinkled with scenes of beauty, both end in tragedy. In the stories Bierce attempts to dash fantasies of a Romantic world view, and display the cold and unfair reality of the world.... [tags: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Ambrose Bierce]
932 words (2.7 pages)
- “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce starts off with the protagonist, Peyton Farquhar, standing on a railroad bridge twenty feet above the water. Farquhar stands on a plank with his wrist tied behind his back, and neck tied with rope. The Northern army surrounds him, waiting for the sergeants signal to release Farquhar upon his death. At this moment, Farquhar stares at the river below his feet, watching pieces of driftwood flow downstream. He notices the river flowing slowly. To keep his mind off the current situation, Farquhar closes his eyes, thinking about his wife and children.... [tags: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Ambrose Bierce]
878 words (2.5 pages)
- The story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce, focuses on the relationship between fantasy and reality. Bierce shows the form of the main character, Peyton Farquhar, who is a slave owner in the Southern state, refusing to believe his death when he is hanged on the Owl Creek Bridge as he did participate at the front lines of the Civil War. Peyton Farquhar persuaded himself that he had escaped the hanging by jumping in the water although he never really enters the water. Bierce illustrates Farquhar’s fantasy of escaping by the imagination of Farquhar dodging bullets fired by the captain and the soldier who are responsible for his death.... [tags: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Ambrose Bierce]
801 words (2.3 pages)
- Robert Enrico, the director of the film An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge crafted a masterpiece that leaves viewers questioning “What just happened?” The film can become easily misleading to viewers due to the blurred lines between illusion and reality. Enrico uses strategic, well-thought-out methods when displaying the imagery and using minimal sound effects during the film to create a storyline ending by snapping viewers back into reality from the illusion they did not even know they were in. Furthermore, the film begins by showing the bare trees which leads the viewers to a view of a bridge appearing in the dime light.... [tags: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Ambrose Bierce]
793 words (2.3 pages)
- Ambrose Bierce's "An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge" seems to have been written to skillfully play with the minds of its readers. The ending of "An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge" can prompt the question, "What just happened?" Present becomes the past, gets lost in a sort of dream world and then comes back to the present sense again. Bierce's infamous character Peyton Farquhar is known to raise eyebrows just by the mention of his name. Farquhar's grizzly end was due to a clever disguise by a Federal Scout, but exactly how clever was it.... [tags: Ann Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Ambose Bierce R]
1313 words (3.8 pages)
- Analysis Of The Documentary ' Sicko ' Directed By Michael Moore
- An Simple Meal Plan At The Gym
- When I Was 11 At The Time Of Middle School 113 ( M.s113 )
- Analysis Of The Article ' Ordinary Day '
- Writing Manual Of The American Psychological Association
- The Gladiators And Their Positive Effects On Ancient Roman Society