Analysis of Two Short Stories Happy Endings and An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge

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Literary elements on numerous occasions play a massive role in the meaning of a story. Two distinct cases being in the short stories “Happy Endings” and “An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge.” In these particular cases the literary element that depicts meaning is internal conflict. In “Happy Endings” the conflict lies within the character Mary who is in love with John, but he is not in love with her. A similar circumstance is in the story “An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge”, where the main character Farquhar wrestles with the idea of evading him imminent death. In the extent of the short stories “Happy Endings” and “An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge” the literary element of person versus self- conflict with some of the main characters creates theme. In “Happy Endings”, Mary’s interior conflict fabricates meaning. An example of this in the text is when Atwood narrates, “Mary falls in love with John, but John doesn’t love Mary” (Atwood 1). This excerpt is an explanation of her conflict with John. Being that she is deeply in love with John, although John contains little to no feelings for her. A significant part of this sentence from the story is when Atwood writes, “John doesn’t love Mary” (1). This phrase indicates what produces Mary’s inner conflict. Following the idea of the first quotation, another key point in the story is, “Inside John, she thinks, is another John, who is much nicer” (1). A word in the above sentence that stands out is the word, “Inside” (1). This depicts that what Mary is conflicted with is inside, thus making it her inner conflict. The over all noteworthiness of these quotations from the novel is that they convey Mary’s person versus self-conflict. Equally worthy of attention is another excerpt from “Happy... ... middle of paper ... ...ge”, in this particular situation the main character Farquhar possesses person versus self-conflict. The explanation for his struggles is because he is being killed for his crimes during the civil war, he longs to escape his execution, run off into the woods and return to his family. In the end Farquhar is hanged and fantasizes his escape, even though he has been hanged. Hence, how the element of person versus self-conflict is a large role in producing meaning in the duration of the plot. Although, many literary elements play a key role in the short stories “Happy Endings” and “An Occurrence At Owl Creek”, the element of person versus self-conflict delineates meaning in the span of the story. The authors writing and description of the main characters inner conflict in the story, in different quotations and descriptions of the character, represent this.

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