Occurance at Owl Creek Essay

This essay has a total of 1082 words and 5 pages.

Occurance at Owl Creek




What Makes Ambrose Bierce a Realist Author
"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" can be considered a work of realism for three reasons.
The first is Bierce's utilization of his own military background giving this story a
sense of authenticity. Bierce also conveys his cynicism after leading the reader to
believe otherwise. Finally, this story provides social critique of the south during the
Civil War.

Bierce goes to great lengths to describe the opening sequence in terms of its military
arrangement. He provides vivid images of troop formations and soldier stances like "a
single company of infantry in line, at 'parade rest' the butts of the rifles on the
ground, the barrels inclining backward against the right shoulder, the hands crossed upon
the stock." (Bierce 269). He also takes the time to describe exactly how fortified the
Owl Creek Bridge is. He shows his military experience by describing a road that stretches
out of site and assuming that "Doubtless there was an outpost farther along." (Bierce
269). The procedures of a military execution were explained thoroughly including the code
of conduct: "In the code of military etiquette silence and fixity are forms of deference."
(Bierce 269).

Bierce earned the nickname "Bitter Bierce" (Bierce 268) early in his life for his
cynicism. This is not evident in this story until the end. The third and final part
begins with a sequence of miraculous occurrences allowing Peyton Farquhar to escape from
his hanging. The description of these events leads the reader to believe that Bierce is a
Romantic author rather than a realist. The rope breaks dropping him into the creek. He
then uses his "superhuman strength" (Bierce 272) to remove the rope from around his neck.
Peyton is then blessed with augmented senses seeing the veins on leaves in the forest and
hearing gnats and dragonfly wings in the distance. He then sees the eye of a marksmen on
the bridge through the scope on the rifle. Amazingly, this marksman misses what should be
an easy target and allows Farquhar to swim farther downstream. Peyton then manages to
avoid a barrage of bullets, cannon fire, and finally grapeshot and is only wounded by one
bullet. In contrast to the first part, the scenery is now described as a dream world of
"strange roseate light", trees that look like "giant garden plants", and "great golden
stars" (Bierce 274). He describes the arrangement of the trees as having "definite order"
and the stars are in order of "secret and malign significance" (Bierce 274). This
suggests what Peyton is seeing is contrived rather than real. The author also gives more
direct hints to what happens in actuality. In the first part Farquhar imagines how he
would escape while he is waiting to be hung which coincidentally is how it happens. In
the end, his final thought is of his wife greeting him at the front gate. This is
revealed initially in the first part: "He closed his eyes in order to fix his last
thoughts upon his wife and children." (Bierce 270). Another indication is the reference
to the single bullet to hit him in the water. The wound is to his neck and described as
Continues for 3 more pages >>




  • Ring Lardners Haircut Analysis
    Ring Lardners Haircut Analysis Creative Writing Analysis Of Ring Lardners HAIRCUT By Stephan M. Arleaux No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligence greater than man\'s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and mu
  • Toni Morrison
    Toni Morrison Outline The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison THESIS: In the novel The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison incorporates various techniques in The Bluest Eye, such as her use of metaphors, the ironic use of names and the visual images that she uses. I. Background information on Toni Morrison A. Where she was born. B. Where she attend college C. Why she changed her name D. When she got married II. The Bluest Eye A. Summary of The Bluest Eye B. What is a theme? 1. The main theme of The Bluest Eye. C.
  • The Black Cat
    The Black Cat A Glimpse Into the World of \'The Black Cat\'; Those who have read any of Edgar Allan Poe\'s short stories know that most of them are full of suspense and mystery and that they efflict a feeling of horror and shock upon the reader. Poe studies the mind, and is conscious of the abnormalities of his narrators and he does not condone the intellectual expedient through which they strive, only too earnestly, to justify themselves. He enters the field of the starkly, almost clinically re
  • Henry james the turn of the screw
    henry james "the turn of the screw" ClassicNote on Turn of the Screw Prologue Summary Friends gathered around a fire in a country house outside London on Christmas Eve entertain themselves by telling ghost stories. When a man named Griffin tells of a little boy who experiences a ghostly visitation, his friend Douglas notes, a few nights later, that the age of the child gives the effect another turn of the screw and proposes a ghost story unsurpassed for dreadfulness about two children. The manus
  • The Black Cat
    The Black Cat A Glimpse Into the World of quot;The Black Cat quot; #9;Those who have read any of Edgar Allan Poe\'s short stories know that most of them are full of suspense and mystery and that they efflict a feeling of horror and shock upon the reader. Poe studies the mind, and is conscious of the abnormalities of his narrators and he does not condone the intellectual expedient through which they strive, only too earnestly, to justify themselves. He enters the field of the starkly, almost clin
  • Toni Morrison
    Toni Morrison Outline The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison THESIS: In the novel The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison incorporates various techniques in The Bluest Eye, such as her use of metaphors, the ironic use of names and the visual images that she uses. I. Background information on Toni Morrison A. Where she was born. B. Where she attend college C. Why she changed her name D. When she got married II. The Bluest Eye A. Summary of The Bluest Eye B. What is a theme? 1. The main theme of The Bluest Eye. C.
  • Science
    Science LAW, SOCIAL SCIENCE, LITERATURE, LAW SCHOOL, AND PERSONAL STATEMENTS Law School Admissions: Why Bother? Stately and plump, Harvard Law School admits just 850 to yield a class of 550; for Yale, fewer than 400 admitted brings a svelte class of 170. Ever battling its late entry and the suspectness of a West Coast address -- "newness" coupled with the perception that sunshine vitiates seriousness -- Stanford Law School admitted 435 to make a class of 180 for the class of 1998. For the most p