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Analysis Of "An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge" By Ambrose Bierce.

1281 words - 5 pages

At first when I began to read this story I really thought I would not be very interested in it, for it just appeared to be a short story about the hanging of one man. But after reading the story I changed my opinion. I really felt this story was very different to any other story that I have read and at the end most readers are surprised how it comes to a close. The author Ambrose Bierce uses a variety of different writing techniques including: foreshadowing and symbols in order to give the story a much deeper meaning then may exist on the surface. The reader is guided into thinking that the last few seconds of Peyton Farquhar's life appears to last for an indefinite period of time, but at the end his life comes to a sudden halt. After reading An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge I feel that I have been enlightened in how death can really make clear to us how truly sacred life is; Our entire lives flash before us in seconds but these seconds can't give justice to life itself.Ambrose Bierce alters the chronological order of the story in order to give the reader the impression that Peyton Farquhar has escaped his hanging at Owl Creek and can then return home and cherish his wife and children. He breaks the story up into three main pieces of which are detailed in the text. At the beginning we are introduced into the story with Peyton Farquhar at Owl Creek Bridge, in what seems just before his hanging, " the man's hands were behind his back, the wrists bound with a cord. A rope closely encircled his neck". We are given details about the soldiers of the Federal army and eventually what leads up to Farquhar's hanging. At the end of the first part of the story, just as Farquhar is hanged we are told that, " He closed his eyes in order to fix his last thoughts upon his wife and children". He wants his last few seconds of life to focus solely on his family and how deeply he will miss them and be missed. Although, his life does not really flash before him, Peyton pictures himself with his family living on, escaping this hanging, and returning home. We are literally left "hanging" at the end of the first part of the story, the reader has no clear picture of Farquhar's death or even if he dies. Bierce evidently tries to make these few seconds extent onward he even refers to the beating of Farquhar's watch, " a sharp, distinct, metallic percussion...he wondered what it was...the intervals of silence grew progressively longer...what he heard was the ticking of his watch".The reading is drawn into the second main part of this story in which the story is furthermore extended into the existence and life of Peyton Farquhar. It can be assumed that Peyton is very fond of his wife, " one evening while Farquhar and his wife were sitting on a rustic bench". We are not given a clear description of Mrs. Farquhar, only that she appears to be a very generous person, in that she happily gives solider water. I think the author includes this part of the story to tell us more of...

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