An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge

1256 words - 5 pages

Peyton Farquhar's ideal creation When an individual is faced with circumstances that threaten the individual's life, the individual can be forced to perform actions that he or she normally would not be capable of performing. Peyton Farquhar, the character in Ambrose Bierce's short story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," seems to gain "super-human" characteristics because of a threat to his life. However, the strength of these very keen senses seems to be exaggerated and inconsistent with reality. This is because Farquhar is not actually experiencing these events, but only thinking about them. Farquhar's mind has created a scenario that is very pleasing to him and his imagination has developed the ideal setting for this scenario. His imagination creates an escape that seems very plausible, but if the details are examined closely it can be determined that this escape could not take place in reality. The escape is the wish of a man who is facing the last moments of his life. Farquhar does certain things and describes object with such detail that it could not be explained rationally. Peyton farquhar's desire to live is so great that he creates this alternate scenario. This thought may have only been a few milliseconds long but it seems to last for at least one full day. It is the last thought of a desperate man, who only wants to return home to his family.There are several clues given by Ambrose Bierce about the third section of the story as only being a part of Peyton Farquhar's imagination. Peyton Farquhar's imagination starts creating a false reality by leading him to the conclusion that when he was dropped off the bridge, the rope had broken and he had fallen in the river (Bierce p.517). An example of Farquhar's imagination is creating false reality is when he surfaces from below the water. "He felt the ripples upon his face and heard their separate sounds as they struck"; this sense of Farquhar being able to hear each individual ripple seems incredible. But this sense of being able to hear each ripple seems very unlikely in reality. It would be impossible for a person to be able to hear each individual ripple, especially with noise of river and its surroundings. This ability of being able to hear something so unique and quite in reality is impossible, but this heightened sense proves that this is not reality. There are several other examples of Farquhar having a "superhuman" sense of hearing. Farquhar also is able to hear " The humming of the gnats that danced above the eddies of the stream, the beating of the dragon-flies' wings, the stroke of water-spiders legs" (Bierce p.518). These examples of an incredible ability to hear with such precision can only be true in a fantasy; theses examples certainly can't be true in reality. The example that further supports that this is not reality, but something that Farquhar's mind has created is when "a fish slid beneath his eyes and he heard the rush of its body partying against the water"(Bierce...

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