Contrasting Themes

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Contrasting Themes?

When has one ever seen a film that could compare to the words written in the book? Movies are almost always different, almost always never compare, and almost always have a different premise than that expressed by a novel. The reason, one wonders, is because you have to keep the audience interested. Ambrose Bierce’s short story and Robert Enrico’s film adaptation entitled, “An Occurrence on Owl Creek Bridge,” is a great example of differing themes in a piece of work. In the entry, evident themes include: reality verses imagination and deception, war, death and dying, and time. Some are expressed in the film clearly, while others are hidden to the untrained eye.

Bierce laid a concrete foundation for the theme of reality verses imagination. The protagonist, Peyton Fahrquhar, “a well to do planter of a well respected Alabama family,” is sentenced to be hung yet, to him, it does not seem as such (Bierce). Somehow, this character breaks free from the rope and manages to escape. In reality, this is all occurring between the seconds of his last breath. Take, for instance, when Bierce allows the readers to be in the mind of Fahrquhar:

I might throw off the noose and spring into the stream. By driving I could evade the bullets and, swimming vigorously, reach the bank, take to the woods and get away home. My Home, thank God, is yet outside their lines…. As the thoughts, which have here to be set down in words, were flashed into the doomed man’s brain rather than evolved from it the captain nodded to the sergeant…. As Peyton Fahrquhar fell straight downward through the bridge he lost consciousness and was as one already dead. From this state he was awakened. (Bierce)

However, both the story and film show that...

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...fer in order to maintain audience enjoyment and the story line tends to leave out key points one may have found vital to the anecdote. Themes contrasted immensely between the short story, provided my Bierce, and the film, directed by Enrico. Imagination verses reality and death is seen clearly through both, even if portrayed differently, while war and time are almost impossible to see in the film. The book presented the readers with more themes compared to that of the film.

Works Cited

Bierce, Ambrose . "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." 1890 19 Jan 2009


An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. Dir. Robert Enrico. Perf. Roger Jacquet Anne

Cornaly, and Anker Larsen . 1962. Videocassette.

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