An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by A. Bierce

Short store by A. Bierce An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is a third person narrative. This type of narrative is generally perceived as objective and trustworthy. By choosing such point of view the writer creates the world that does not depend on the opinion or evaluation of the author. The narrator does not distort reality using the power of his imagination. In the story the narrator is a dispassionate witness observing destiny in action. However, describing certain scenes the narrator seems to be hesitating and failing to understand what is happening. It is evident in the use of words such as “may”, “probably”, “perhaps”. The writer describes the setting in details to create the effect of “presence” and appeal to the readers’ imagination in order to convince them that the universe of the short story is real: “Beyond one of the sentinels nobody was in sight; the railroad ran straight away into a forest for a hundred yards, then, curving, was lost to view. Doubtless there was an outpost farther along. The other bank of the stream was open ground--a gentle acclivity topped with a stockade of vertical tree trunks, loopholed for rifles, with a single embrasure through which protruded the muzzle of a brass cannon commanding the bridge. Midway of the slope between the bridge and fort were the spectators--a single company of infantry in line, at "parade rest," the butts of the rifles on the ground, the barrels inclining slightly backward against the right shoulder, the hands crossed upon the stock”. The narrator shows little emotion in order to make the readers feel that the situation cannot be changed, that the course of events if predefined and the character would not escape his fate. There are two conflicts in the story. The first... ... middle of paper ... ...plants; he noted a definite order in their arrangement, inhaled the fragrance of their blooms”. Then his consciousness starts to give way, there are times of blackout, lapses, the story grows inconsistent. And in the end the protagonist opens his eyes into the darkness, i.e. dies. The story suggests that trauma affects physical state of human beings while perception grows more acute and senses are sharpened. Several seconds before his death the protagonist still is able to think quite coherently and logically. The story suggests that war appeals to the universal human instinct, the need for fight, desire to take part in the struggle. That is why the farmer is not content with his insignificant role in the big war. However, as soon as the instinct of destruction awakens, the person becomes doomed. In this view the protagonist’s fate is inescapable and inevitable.
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