The Fine Line between Fantasy and Reality

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Metafiction is a term given to fictional writing which self-consciously and systematically draws attention to its status as an artifact in order to pose questions about the relationship between fiction and reality (Waugh 2). Metafiction is a term used loosely across many genres of fictions. Using metafiction, to describe a works allows usage along a full spectrum of ideas. From this concept, many short stories, and other works of fiction have been produced. Authors like Ambrose Bierce, an innovator of experimental fiction, are highly criticized for taking on projects using this writing style. In one of his most famous works, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," Bierce developed a trademark for comparison in the metafiction genre. In the words of literary critic, Cathy Davidson, "Bierce has staked his claim as `the precursor of postmodern fiction.'" Bierce's short story creates intense drama in a small amount of space, leaving readers with many questions, and strongly placing itself into the metafiction genre. Often compared to the likes of Edgar Allen Poe, the close examination of time, the attention giving to mental fiction to avoid real life, and the blending of reality and fiction allow Bierce's work of fiction to be marked as timeless.

Bierce carefully divides the narrative into three parts, each part carefully intertwining, the close examination of time, the attention giving to mental fiction to avoid real life, and the blending of reality and fiction. "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" begins powerfully with an unnamed protagonist. By doing this, Bierce creates an atmosphere of mystery. The author only describes the problematic situation of the character, "The man's hands were behind his back, his wrists boun...

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· Davidson, Cathy N. Critical Essays on Ambrose Bierce. Boston: G.K. Hall and Co., 1984.

·Korb, Rebecca. "An Overwiew of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." Short Stories for Students. Galenet Research Group, 1997. Galenet Group. Auburn University Montgomery. 29-Oct-2003.

· Powers, James G. " Freud and Farquhar: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." Studies in Short Fiction, Vol. 19, No. 3 Summer 1982. Pages 278-281. Galenet Group. Original Date unknown. Auburn University Montgomery. 29-Oct-2003. <http:// galenet.galegroup.com>

·Waugh, Patricia. Metafiction: The Theory and Practice of Self-Conscious Fiction. New York: Methuen, 1984.

·Author unknown. "Metafiction." The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms. Publication Date Unknown. original date unknown. 29-October-2003. <http:// www2.gvsu.edu>

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