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An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

Essay by   •  March 23, 2011  •  Essay  •  277 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,140 Views

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Ambrose Bierce's "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" takes place during the civil war in Northern Alabama. This gives an insight to life during the war and what happens to people for choosing sides. The style of Bierce's writing makes it difficult to follow. However his sequence of writing, manipulation of the reader, and characterization successfully catches the reader's attention and creates a good storyline. The reader is led to believe he escapes under miraculous circumstances, it is revealed at the end of the story that Farquhar imagined his escape in the split seconds before his death.

Bierce's sequence of writing goes from the present time to a flashback, a fantasy, then back to the present. This style of writing keeps the reader attached. Peyton Fahrquhar a wealthy southern plantation owner is being hanged by the Union army for attempting to burn down Owl Creek Bridge. As he is being hanged, the story goes to a flashback when a gray-clad soldier arrives at Fahrquhar's door asking for a glass of water. The soldier talks about Owl Creek Bridge; how it will be the North's next big advance, he also mentions that anyone being caught destroying the bridge will be hanged. Then the story goes into Fahrquhar's fantasy.

The use of characterization and setting in the story gives us a clear view of the type of turmoil that was common in the period. Setting for the story is during the Civil War at Owl Creek Bridge in Northern Alabama. The area in which the story takes place is described to ensure that the reader can have a better understanding of the experience and what went through the characters mind.

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