An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge, By Ambrose Bierce

1247 words - 5 pages

In “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”, Bierce starts her short story on the edge with Peyton Farquhar, a 35 year old planter from the south, standing on Owl Creek Bridge with his hands tied behind his back and a noose around his neck. There are soldiers from the north surrounding him. Two soldiers, one on each side of him, take away the plank in which he is standing on. Falling to the water, Farquhar focuses his last thoughts on his family, while also having hopes of freeing his hands and diving into the water below.
A flashback occurs and readers learn that Farquhar and his wife were sitting on a bench one night when a soldier, who looked as if he was from the south, rode by asking for a glass of water. As the Mrs. goes and gets the water, Farquhar and the soldier talk about how the Yankees are going to hang anyone who interferes with the new railroad they are constructing. Farquhar tells the soldier an idea or thought he has while smirking. Later, readers learn that the soldier is a federal scout from the north.
Readers are then taken back to the scene of the bridge where Farquhar realizes that the rope has broken and he has fallen into the stream. He is at the bottom of the river and when he finally comes up for air, he is being shot at by the soldiers. He swims as fast as he can with the current, making it to the edge of the bank. Traveling all day through the woods, he eventually makes it through and finds himself on a lonely road, which he recognizes is a path to his house. There he is greeted by two things: his beautiful wife, and as he goes to reach her he is hit with the other, which is reality. Swinging from Owl Creek Bridge with a rope around his neck, Farquhar hangs dead, right where he had been the entire time.
In times where people feel as if their world is coming to an end, hope gives the feeling that there is a chance of happiness and that life will go on. While reading “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”, readers take a journey of hope with the main character, Peyton Farquhar, as he realizes that life will not go on but still has hope that there is a chance. The fall semester of Bolivar Central High School’s 2013-2014 year, the student body had to face something unimaginable. In less than two weeks, three students died in three different car accidents, and even though it was an unthinkable experience, the students found hope and came together as a student body. In times of hardship it is very hard to have hope, but even in the worst of times one can still find hope. Ambrose Bierce’s short story, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” demonstrates the theme of even in the worst of times one can still find hope by putting the main character, Peyton Farquhar, through impossible situations. Farquhar goes through falling off the bridge into the water and surviving all the gunshots. He made it through the woods and to his house, and when he was dying, he still had hope of getting off the board he was standing on and getting home,...

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