Ambrose Bierce’s Experience During The Civil War And Its Influence On His Writing

1056 words - 4 pages

In becoming a printers devil for a Northern Indianapolis Abolitionist Newspaper gave background for the interest in writing and the agreement in the Abolistionist view point.
Heeding to the call to arms to help defend the North.,Bierce joined the Army
The next four years were spent traveling the states fighting in some of the most well known battles of the Civil War . Ambrose Bierce’s experience during the Civil War where he faced the dangers of nature and man influenced his writing.
After being struck in the head by a bullet during a battle, the recouperating time gave Bierce time to write calling on his actual war time memories and experiences to fuel the ideas for these tales.
Thes e stories were actually an outlet for the horrors that were witnessed ,and lived daily by Bierce, and were not published until quite a while later in Bierces life.
Bierce lost friends during battles , and saw men loose limbs and sustain serious injuries
The story an Occurrence at Owl creek bridge, shows how a man , named Farquhar when

faced with his own demise, grasps at any concept of freedom and safety to help him cope

with his eminent reality. knows Farqhar is about to be hung , but in his mind as the

noose is placed around his neck and the boards on the bridge begin to be kicked aside

from under his feet,he starts to think of alternative ways in which he can be saved from


Only Bierce with his satirical sense of humor would actually make Farqhar

think he will escape his fate , when there isn’t and actual chance to survive.

The irony of Farqhar actually imagining his escape , the struggles that he

faces while making this escape , making it safely to his own home

and the arms of his awaiting wife , only to be jerked back into reality with a sharp

pain leading to a flash of his life gone by, as the hangman’s noose sealed his fate.

As stated by critic Cathy Davidson, “he invented many literary techniques:the close

examination of time ;an attention to mental fictions in order to avoid real life:the

blending of fantasy and reality “.

Another example of this literary technique, is in the short story “Chicamuga”where the

six year old character of the story ,has a vivid imagination about war and how it is fought .
He sneaks away from his parents plantation armed with a toy wooden sword ready to

engage in battle. In his imaginary battle he comes across wounded men . They were

wounded and killed in a battle, nearby his home. The boy considers these men as just part

of his imaginary play , running around and showing his wooden sword victoriously ,until

he stumbles upon more dead in the nearby creek . He is still daydreaming about the battle

he fought and won when he is intrigued by the glow of fire in the forest . Still not

realizing that it was familiar surroundings he marches on thinking about the

battle he just won, until he starts to...

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