“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce is a 19th
Century mystery story that is set at the time of the American Civil
War (1861-1865), when the Slave owning Confederate States in the South
engaged in conflict with the Federal Government of the USA. The story
focuses on a character called Peyton Farquhar, who was about to be
hung for trespassing the Owl Creek Bridge. The story ends with a
curious twist in the plot. The main aspect of the story is set in
Farquhar’s mind, however while reading, at the first instinct, the
reader is unsure (despite careful, hidden hints placed by Bierce) of
this fact. Only at the end, when it is clearly stated that Farquhar is
hanging lifelessly with a broken neck from the bridge that the reader
will become conclusively aware of this facet. In Oedipus the King by
Sophocles’, it is a 5th century Greek tragedy play that is set at the
time of major battle against the Persian navy also known as Golden
Age. (Sophocles, 1880) The underlying assumption in this story was
that the citizens were meant to learn from the mistakes made during
the tragedies. Citizens were supposed to learn the appropriate manner
of being a good human being. Will the fantasy overtake their minds
leaving them with one option to return to reality and death or will
the power of unwritten law, the willingness to ignore the truth, and
the limits of free will?
Bierce carefully divides the narrative, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek
Bridge”, into three parts. Each part carefully...
... middle of paper ...
...wer for interpretation in
the 21st Century, in depends completely on individuals perception of
the actuality of fate.
1. Bierce, Ambrose An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. Nebraska:
University of Nebraska Press, 1985. Eserver.org. Date Unknown. Iowa
State University. 15 May 2005.
2. Charters, Ann, and Charters, Samuel, eds. Literature and Its
Writers: A Compact Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 3rd ed.
Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003.
3. Davidson, Cathy N. Critical Essays on Ambrose Bierce. Boston Mass:
G.K. Hall, 1982.
4. Powers, James G. “Freud and Farquhar: An Occurrence at Owl Creek
Bridge.” Studies in Short Fiction 19.3 (1982): Unknown number of
paragraphs. 15 May. 2005
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