An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge

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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? What if this entire ordeal was planned in such a way to have Farquhar killed on purpose?

As quoted from the short story, "Peyton Farquhar was a well to do planter, of an old and highly respected Alabama family." (Bierce, Section II) Since Farquhar is obviously experienced in his work and does a good job at it too, then people must know about him. Coming from a respected family also puts his name out there. In today's modern society, the wealthy and famous have their every move tracked down to the tee. If Peyton Farquhar family tree is one that is well known then most people in the village must be aware of his whereabouts. "Being a slave owner and like other slave owners a politician, he was naturally an original secessionist and ardently devoted to the Southern cause". (Bierce Section II) The phrase "being a slave owner and like other slave owners a politician" is Bierce's own use of an aphorism, a tersely phrased statement of a truth or opinion. Bierce also uses a great deal of imagery, not only in this section but the entire short story as well, to put a strong visual into the reader's mind of how the war is being fought. The fact that Bierce considers a slave owner to be synonymous w...

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.... Since "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" takes place during the Civil War, there is obviously a lot of history tied into the story. Because of the South's inability to get a large number of soldiers, a decision to conduct guerrilla warfare was made in 1861. Civilians were often organized to wage warfare against the Union troops by disrupting Union communications and supply lines. Since Peyton Farquhar was well known for doing anything to aid the South, it would be not be surprising if he had been one of the civilians to engage in these attacks. The North could have easily found out about it and learned his name and information, giving them cause to kill him. The fact that Farquhar is so obsessed with wanting to be in the army also shows how much the male strives to be known as the "strong gender" and feel as if a victory in battle will help them achieve this.
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