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Compare And Contrast The View That ‘An Arrest’ Is A Tale Of Nature

1422 words - 6 pages

Compare and contrast the view that An Arrest is a tale of nature
rejecting a human villain with the view that it is concerned only with
a vengeful superego

‘An Arrest’ is an ambiguous story. You can look at it in different
ways. One way to see it is as a tale of nature rejecting a human
villain. This view is put forward right from the beginning. When the
narrator uses words such as “confined” and “fugitive” to describe the
state of Orrin Brower, he creates the image of an animal isolated from
human society. This is because ‘confined’ is usually a word to do with
animals or mad people who are not allowed to be in contact with humans
Further evidence to support the argument of Orrin Brower being
portrayed as a savage beast comes when the author writes that he had,
“recovered liberty,” which is like an animal being released into the
wild. Orrin Brower does not feel guilty for beating Burton Duff or
think of the consequences of his actions, as a human would; he only
feels and acknowledges his freedom which is an animal-like thing to
do. When he is on the run he decides to escape to the forest which may
be as he is treated like an animal he starts to believe that he is
one. The fact that the narrator states ‘he had the folly to enter a
forest’ suggests that even though he thinks of himself as an animal,
Brower is not and therefore does not belong in the forest- this proves
that nature will inevitably try to discard him. As he enters the
forest, we are told that ‘the night was pretty dark with neither moon
nor stars visible’ which could be seen as a nature trying to confuse
Brower. We begin to doubt Brower’s animal-like image when Bierce
writes, “Brower had never dwelt thereabout, and knew nothing of the
lay of the land” as, being portrayed an animal, he should be home in
the wild. This idea builds up as he is, “naturally, not long in losing
himself,” which shows that he is a human as he gets lost naturally as
any human would in a forest where they do not belong. This shows that
despite how he has been treated and what he believes, Brower is still

The reader is pulled up short by the adverb ‘suddenly’; we become
aware that the ‘road’ represents man’s intrusion into nature; it is a
turning point in the story. Here, Brower meets a strange figure;
‘there before him saw, indistinctly the figure of a man, in the gloom’
which, because of the description Bierce uses, makes it hard for the
reader to picture him- suggesting that the figure is less than a real
person. The narrator says that “the two stood there like trees,” which
is ironic as they are the complete opposite; they are not things which
blend in with the forest, such as trees, they stand out as they do not
belong there. This also suggests that the figure is more a part of
nature than Brower as it is ‘indistinct’- it blends in with the trees
rather than standing out. We know that the stranger is possibly not
human as Bierce writes “The emotions...

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