Analysis Of 'An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge'

“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” by Ambrose Bierce is a short story about a man who seems to be lost in a world between reality and imagination. The story shows trials, triumphs, and the matters of life and death. The main character Peyton Farquhar is a proud confederate, husband, planter, and politician, not only is he all of those things but he is an optimist and this is what takes him on the journey of his life. After being put in a sticky situation he has nothing else to do but hope for a miracle. It’s not till the end that we find out Peyton has been dead throughout most of the story after breaking his neck from being hung. The analysis of this story will go through the event of Farquhar’s hanging and how his imagination is his only way to escape death. It’s Peyton Farquhar’s desire to participate in the war since prior circumstances didn’t allow him to participate in the civil war. All he wanted to do was serve his side, like any brave and noble man was hoping to do during this time. The union spy planted a seed of hearsay into Farquhar’s mind and Farquhar’s desires allowed this seed to sprout into what he saw as a possibility for acknowledgement and commendation. One can tell that Farquhar was consumed by the thought of being a war hero. His willingness to serve the confederacy is what dooms his life after he is caught trying to burn the bridge and stop the unions progression into the south. After his capture Farquhar is sentenced to death by hanging, when the noose slipped around his neck the only thoughts going through his head were those of escape, how he would do it and what he would do if he did. Before he knew it the sergeant stepped aside and Farquhar fell though the bridge to his death, but this is not the e... ... middle of paper ... ...ay to end such a captivating story, but for those who were able to catch on it may actually seem quite peaceful. When reading Bierce’s story much of it does not make sense to a first time reader, how could Farquhar do all of this but in the end had died of a broken neck. When reading and analyzing the story further the experiences Farquhar has, the reader starts to sense that he was dead. Bierce made Farquhar an optimistic man and in his world between reality and imagination this is how he survived. Farquhar used his imagination to escape death, even though in the story he did die he used his imagination to escape his own pain and suffering by pushing his own mind into believing that his imagination was reality he would survive and did survive. Bierce tells about this vivid imagination of Farquhar’s while still trying to clue in the reader that he is already dead.
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