Theme Of Fantasy And Reality In An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge

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The story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce, focuses on the relationship between fantasy and reality. Bierce shows the form of the main character, Peyton Farquhar, who is a slave owner in the Southern state, refusing to believe his death when he is hanged on the Owl Creek Bridge as he did participate at the front lines of the Civil War. Peyton Farquhar persuaded himself that he had escaped the hanging by jumping in the water although he never really enters the water. Bierce illustrates Farquhar’s fantasy of escaping by the imagination of Farquhar dodging bullets fired by the captain and the soldier who are responsible for his death. In fact, Bierce even exaggerated the illusion of escaping by Farquhar swimming under the…show more content…
Farquhar demonstrates how people often disregard what’s going on around them and go on to persuades themselves in believing the unbelievable things. Throughout the whole story, Farquhar believed that he had escaped death, but after the introduction of the main character, Bierce highlights, “As Peyton Farquhar fell straight downward through the bridge, he lost consciousness and was as one already dead” (116). As illustrated by the author, Farquhar was long dead before he even starts imagining his freedom from death. Farquhar escaping his fate of death can be opposed by readers but refuting that at the end of the story, he still ended up being dead so if he had just accepted his death, he would not have to struggle much in both his fantasy and reality. For instance, imagined himself visiting his wife after escaping the bridge and as he was about to hold her, he came to realization that all those struggles to escaping was all an imagination as Bierce declares, “he feels a stunning blow upon the back of the neck; a blinding white light blazes all about him, with a sound like the shock of a cannon–then all is darkness and silence!” (120). As a result, Farquhar accepted his fate in the end as demonstrates in the story, “Peyton Farquhar was dead; his body, with a broken neck, swung gently from side to side beneath the timbers of the Owl Creek bridge” (120). In brief, Bierce reasons out that for those who kept on ignoring reality will sometimes, somehow come face to face with it and have to accept it with no other
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