An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce Analytical Paper

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“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true” (Kierkegaard)- Misleading oneself by accepting things as true or valid when they are not is a common phenomenon of nearly every human being, especially when faced with life changing of threatening situations. Self-deception can therefore be considered an option to escape reality in order to prevent oneself from dealing with the weight of a situation. Basically, those strong influencing psychological forces keep us from acknowledging a threatening situation or truth. However, oftentimes people do not realize that they are deceiving themselves, for it is mostly the action of the subconscious mind to protect especially the psychological well- being. This psychological state is depicted and in Ambrose Bierce’s short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”. He shows that people try to escape reality and seek refuge in self-deception when confronted with life-threatening situations, through characterization, alternate point of view, and the fluidity of time.
According to Baybrook, “Peyton Farquhar believes -- as do the readers -- that he has escaped execution and, under heavy gunfire, has made his way back home” (Baybrook). One of Bierce’s main means to achieve this goal of forcing the reader to buy into his delusion is ‘time’. Because ‘time’ is utilized to calibrate human experiences, it becomes obscure, altered and split in times of extreme emotional disturbance. The time that is required for hanging Farquar seems to be indefinite, however, Bierce goes the extra mile and indicates that there is a certain ‘treshold of death’ that lingers beyond recognition. When it is exceeded, it results in a distorted and blurred pe...

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...OCCURRENCE AT OWLCREEK BRIDGE" ." ABP Journal. 1.1 (2005): n. page. Web. 23 Mar. 2014. Bierce, Ambrose “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”. The Norton Introduction to Literature 10th ed. New York. Wwnorton.com, 2011. 299-306. Print. Habbi, Don. “Experience of a Lifetime: Philosophical Reflections on Narrative Device of Ambrose Bierce.” Studies in the Humanities 29.2 (2002): 83-108. GALE. Web. 22 Mar. 2014 Stoicheff, Peter. "'Something Uncanny: The Dream Structure in Ambrose Bierce's 'An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge',." Studies in Short Fiction. (1993): 355. Web. 23 Mar. 2014. "“There Are Two Ways to Be Fooled. One Is to Believe What Isn't True; the Other Is to Refuse to Believe What Is True.”." Quote by Søren Kierkegaard: "There Are Two Ways to Be Fooled. ..." (1/11). N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2014.

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