Ambrose Gwinett Bierce was born on June 24, 1842 in a log cabin in Meigs County, Ohio. He was the youngest of nine children and was born into a poor family with an odd father. Bierce did not enjoy his childhood and ended up hating his entire family except for one brother. His preference for aristocratic heroes probably came from his troubled childhood and class status. His future bitterness may have come from the difficulties he had when he was a child (Fadiman XI).
Before he started his writing career Bierce served in the army during the Civil War, first as a drummer boy. By then end of the Civil War he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, being wounded only once in the war. There is no evidence that he agreed with the aims of the North, but there is some evidence that he sided more with the aristocratic planter culture of the South. While he was in the army, Bierce was considered a man that possessed qualities of leadership that promoted him through the ranks. Bierce joined the war at a very young age, and seeing the worst of mankind of that time could hav...
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...his experiences with the elite of San Francisco. He always hated the way he was brought up and how he was poor as a child. Many of his stories use characters that are opposite of how his childhood in reality was, in order to create a false past. All of his stories used at least one of these aspects (Epstein 87-89)
Ambrose Bierce can be considered one the greatest cynics of all time. It is obvious that the events in his life caused him to be the bitter, cynical person we see in his stories. In an article relating to how Ambrose Bierce started the cynical, ironic writing in America, Joseph Epstein says, “If the Civil War may be said to have put the blackening on Bierce’s outlook, his career in journalism supplied the polish (Epstein 86).” Every event in his life, from his troubled youth, to his Civil War experience, led him to the writer he is known as today.
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