Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge Essay

This essay has a total of 1131 words and 4 pages.

Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge

Out of all the stories I have read in class so far, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by
Ambrose Bierce, has touched me most. When I first began reading the story I felt as though
I was not interested, because my assumptions of what the story was going to be about were
completely different than the stories actual content. As I set aside my judgment and let
myself try to enjoy the story, I found myself anxiously reading to the bitter end. This
story was not only interesting and unique, but also had an added twist at the end, which
surprised most readers. Depending on how observant the reader is with picking up on
foreshadowing and symbolic meaning, one may realize before the final sentences that Peyton
Farquar was not actually escaping home but in fact hallucinating while desperately trying
to escape the hangmen.

Ambrose Bierce chose to write this story in third person limited omniscient point of view
to help the reader understand the story from the main character's mind, Peyton Farquar.
During the story you only see what happens through Peyton's eyes. Therefore, you do not
realize that most of the narrative reflects Peyton's imagination. Choosing this type of
view also lets the author focus more on the emotions and thoughts of the main character.
The author does not let the reader see into the eyes of the men hanging him, but after
reading the story one will understand that their point of view was not needed and would
have actually taken away from the story if done so. His creative way of inventing this
story would not have affected me and many other readers if written any other way.

Bierce broke this story down into three parts. The first part of the narrative creates an
atmosphere with the setting at Owl Creek Bridge. Great detail is told here as to who is
present at the scene, what is happening, what the scene looks like, etc. But the reader
only receives ideas and thoughts from one person, Peyton Farquar. The first part as like
the other two parts of this story is written very systematically and clear. Even with such
a structured set up, the author still manages to put great anticipation and fearsome
emotion into the near end of the first part of this story. At this point the author makes
the reader think Peyton is devising a way to set his hands free from the rope thereby
beginning his journey to escape home.

The second part of the story shifts as the author sets the tone with background knowledge
on Peyton Farquar and his family. This part of the story also informs the reader of why he
is hung in the first place. While this section is not necessarily a crucial part of the
story, it does help build Peyton's character as well as the overall character of the
story.

The third part of this story focuses attention back to the scene at the bridge, where the
authors deceiving words make the reader think Peyton has escaped from the rope and now
desperately fights his way home to the loving arms of his wife again. As I said before
this part of the story continues on a systematic path, describing every little detail
occurring from Peyton's point of view up until the last seconds before his death.

Continues for 2 more pages >>




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