Analysis Of An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge

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Ambrose Bierce wrote “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” in 1890 for the San Francisco Examiner. Before this, Bierce fought in the American Civil War for the Union Army as a lieutenant. In the Civil War, Bierce fought in some of the most horrific battles such as Shiloh and Chickamauga. These battles were often gruesome and horrific due to the limited medical knowledge of the time. After the Civil War, Bierce went through a period of misfortune, where his wife left him and his son died in a gunfight. Interestingly during this time, Bierce wrote some of his best works. These tragedies made Bierce even more cynical, which inevitably made his stories better. Bierce’s cynicism is essential for the development of his stories. Another important part of his stories are the allusions to reality. A superficial reading of “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” might give the reader the impression that Farquhar has escaped. Upon closer examination, this outcome seems to be impossible. One of the most astonishing elements of “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Bridge” is how Bierce integrates Farquhar’s reality to his dream of an escape. In “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”, Ambrose Bierce creates a masterpiece of deception by using allusions.
Ambrose Bierce uses a perfect point of view in “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” deceptively alluding to what is really going on in Peyton Farquhar’s life. In order to give the insight and knowledge that is necessary for the reader to understand what is going on in Farquhar’s head and what is going on around him there must be a unique point of view. The narrator must be able to relate what Farquhar is thinking therefore for the first part the story is in third person point of view. Bierce also wanted t...

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...what is perceived to be true. All of these literary techniques help to make Bierce’s allusions to existence real and believable. The way that Bierce uses an intriguing story to make a normal antagonist become the protagonist is extraordinary. In most Civil War stories the Union is shown to be correct and always righteous. In this particular story the Union is the enemy and they are seemingly killing a fairly innocent man because he was just protecting his way of life. Even though all of this is true the reader is still compelled to want to believe in the story and wish for the escape of Peyton Farquhar. I believe that this story not only pertains to a period of 150 years ago but also to today. Don’t judge something as being the truth until you really know what's going on and also the realistic notion that not everything is the world is all butterflies and rainbows.

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