An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, by Ambrose Bierce

1222 Words5 Pages
“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” leads readers to query Ambrose Bierce about the numerous point of view shifts his story takes. Ambrose Bierce’s descriptive writing style grasps the reader’s attention, unknowingly manipulating the reader throughout the entire story. This statement holds to be true as the story line develops. “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” has a variety of ups and downs throughout the story, changing the direction and perspective through its point of view of omniscient and limited omniscient. Ambrose Bierce’s various shifts deceive readers into believing the protagonist, Peyton Farquhar, has escaped a perilous fate.

Readers are confounded as the conflict actualizes with Peyton Farquhar finding himself on a bridge awaiting his execution. Although Farquhar is to be hung, he still manages to keep calm and focused on what is important, his family. However this is where the story makes its first turn as Farquhar’s thoughts are interrupted by the sound of his own watch. The description of the piercing sound is but a small glimpse of the “dream” that is to come. This is where time and perspective tend to get confused. Prevalently this idea is due to the temporary solution that comes as Peyton Farquhar “dreams” himself escaping such perilous doom and reaching his wife.

In “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” a couple of shifts throughout the story change the entire story’s point of view essentially bewildering readers. For instance, in paragraph five, a shift occurs when Peyton Farquhar closes his eyes right before he is to be hung. As Farquhar focuses in on his family, Bierce makes a sudden change by switching to limited third person omniscient. In turn the story takes on another form concerning the...

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... his story.

Ambrose Bierce triumphantly created a story that readers perceive to be manipulating It leaves the reader to rehash the entire story once complete. It is at this point where the reader may realize the dynamic of Ambrose Bierce’s “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” in regards to the changes in shifts in perspective as well as the shifts in time the story undertakes. As readers reconsider the story, they are allotted the opportunity to decide for themselves what exactly was happening to Peyton Farquhar, moments before his death. Once readers have done so, they can truly appreciate Bierce’s grim story as a whole, manipulating as it may be.

Works Cited

Bierce, Ambrose. “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” The Story and Its Writer An Introduction to Short Fiction. 8th Ed. Karen S Henry. Boston: Bedford St. Martin’s, 2011. 103-110. Print.
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