Ever find yourself in a horrifying situation, wishing it was only a nightmare you would soon wake up from, only to realize it's reality that is sealed due to the uncontrollable circumstance? In the fictional short story, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”, author Ambrose Bierce tells the story of a man who finds himself in such a situation. Part one begins with an unnamed fugitive and a group of Federal Union Soldiers standing on a railroad bridge in Alabama. The story takes place during the American Civil War. The man is a civilian plantation owner who is awaiting execution by way of hanging.
In Ambrose Bierces " An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" two private soldiers of the Federal army were appointed by a sergeant to lynch Peyton Farquhar from a elderly suspended bridge because of his attempt to aid the Confederate forces. He was to be executed for aiding the confederate forces. He knew his death was at his fingertips and couldn’t help ponder its arrival. He looks at the river below observing the depth of the river. Early on in the story Ambrose portrays Peyton, from his perspective, seeing a shallow river.
At San Jacinto, General Sam Houston sent one of his men to destroy a bridge crossing the San Jacinto River. This was to prevent reinforcements from joining Santa Anna’s forces, which were already on the Island. The second point which was fictional ,but was based on an actual event, was the capture of General Santa Anna. In Michner’s novel, a bumbling Yancy Quimper, comes across a half naked Santa Anna, who was trying to evade capture by hiding in the trees. Quimper, being a coward, nearly shoots himself in the process.
In this story, the aftermath of a regular man brings him to his death all to quickly, and we can only understand his thoughts and emotion through an author who clearly understands the demands of war. Ambrose Bierce himself was a veteran of war and knew the feeling of fighting for one’s morals, standards, and beliefs, willing to put down his life for a higher cause–whether others understood it or not. During the Civil War, after being set up mercilessly to attempt to sabotage an apparently important bridge, Peyton Farquhar, a southern plantation owner and family man, was sentenced to death by hanging and stood on the solemn Owl Creek Bridge, waiting for the black hour of his demise. In the few seconds it too... ... middle of paper ... ...elieve it’s safe to say countless of people are that hopelessly drunk man who begged for death but automatically protects himself from destruction. It’s only human, after all.
The cannon had taken a hand in the game. As he shook his head free from the commotion of the smitten water he heard the deflected shot humming through the air ahead, and in an instant it was cracking and smashing the branches in the forest beyond. At the end of the story, when the plot turns 180 degrees and we find out that Peyton has, in fact, been hanged, we are amazed that this could have happened. However, when we analyze this sudden turn, we realize that all through the story we have been subtly forewarned of Farquhar's demise. For example, when he looks through the bridgework toward the water, he notices how slowly the water seems to be moving.
Ambrose Bierce's “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” by Ambrose Bierce, is the story of the hanging of a Civil War era Southern gentleman by the name of Peyton Farquhar. The story begins with an unidentified man being prepared to be hanged by a company of Union soldiers on a railroad bridge that runs over a river. He is then identified as Peyton Farquhar, a man who attempted to destroy the very bridge they are standing on based on information he was given by a Federal scout posing as a Confederate soldier. As he is dropped from the bridge to hang, the rope snaps and he falls into the river. After freeing himself and returning to the surface of the river, he realizes that his senses are all much heightened and he even “noted the prismatic colors in all the dewdrops upon a million blades of grass” (153).
“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” written by Ambrose Bierce, is about a man named Peyton Farquhar, who was being hung at the Owl Creek Bridge. This story takes place in the American Civil War era in Alabama where the Union army declared, “they would hang any civilian caught interfering with the railroad, its bridges, tunnels or trains.” Bierce uses many different themes in “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” but his standout, and most important, themes are man vs. himself, the battle, triumph over adversity, love conquers all, and death. Bierce starts his story of a man who was about to be hung from Owl Creek Bridge. Farquhar was a well-to-do planter, from an old and highly respected Alabama family. Being a slave owner as well as a politician, he was naturally an original secessionist and very devoted to the southern cause.
The 1890 story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce was composed with a structure that shows time fluidity. The story illustrated the perceived function of time as beyond reality as it slows down to the satisfaction of the delusions of protagonist, Peyton Farquhar, as he experiences a dying incident on the day of his execution. Farquhar was charged with the crime of an attempted act to destroy or sabotage the Owl Creek Bridge, and was thereafter sentenced to death by the Federal Army. Farquhar believes as he also leads the readers the same that he has escaped execution and has made his way back home. The dying protagonist’s experience was portrayed in a slow flow of time that seemed to exactly fit the many circumstances that occurred just in time for reality to come and take its place in 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.
Peyton shows symbols, flashbacks, and foreshadowing as he is getting ready to die by execution. “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge has many examples of themes, motifs and symbols. One of the things Bierce puts in the story is the idea of flashbacks and foreshadowing. Peyton Farquhar is getting executed. As he is hanging there, He envisions himself of being free but he is moments away from death.