Essay on An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge: Summary and Review

Essay on An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge: Summary and Review

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The short story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce was an incredible work of fiction. The choice to tell this story from an omniscient point of view is what made this story phenomenal. Because we are experiencing all of the emotions that the condemned man felt, we are drawn into his private world. If we had heard this from a more traditional point of view, it wouldn't have been nearly as touching or personal as it was. The way the story was told gave us the impression that we were there, floating above it, and witnessing every moment.

This story was about a man named Peyton Farquhar. He was a well-off southern planter from Alabama. We know this because his family was "old and highly-respected" and he was a slave owner (par.8). He was a family man with a wife and children. Peyton Farquhar was very loyal to the Southern cause (par.8). He got caught up in a war that he should not have been involved in because he was not enlisted in the Confederate army. He decided to intervene in a plan to overtake the Owl Creek Bridge and was caught and hanged.

Since the setting of this story took place in Alabama, we know that there was a great deal of animosity between the North and South. Peyton asked a soldier that approached him and his wife about news from the front while his wife ran to get him some water. The soldier told Peyton that someone could possibly set a fire under the bridge because of all the dried driftwood there and that the bridge was only guarded by one person. We know that this was an attempt by the union to eliminate a steadfast southern supporter because of the last line, "He was a Federal scout." (par.17) I find it very odd that the couple would be so eager to speak with this soldier u...


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...ything in between your two marks. This is how you will know that Peyton did not actually "die" until the last sentence of the story. This is how it reads: "The sergeant stepped aside, he (Peyton) feels a stunning blow upon the back of his neck: a blinding white light blazes all about him, with a sound like the shock of a cannon-then all is darkness and silence! Peyton Farquhar was dead; his body, with a broken nick, swung gently from side to side beneath the timbers of the Owl Creek Bridge." Everything that happened between these two statements happened in a split second. From the time the sergeant stepped aside and the descent began until the time his neck snapped only took a couple of seconds. This is what they mean by "my life flashed before my eyes." In Peytons' minds eye, he escaped his executioners and found his way home to his wife and his happy ending.

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