An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge By Ambrose Bierce

1484 Words Nov 7th, 2016 6 Pages
Justifiably Bitter Bierce
Ambrose Bierce led a relatively full but tragic life. After losing his sons Day and Leigh to suicide and alcoholism respectively, his wife left him for another man (“Ambrose Bierce”). His struggles with death and the inequity of life are evident throughout his literary works. “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” illustrates many of the power struggles that Bierce was fighting throughout much of his life.
Much of the first half of the story focuses on the conflict between civilian and soldier. Our protagonist Peyton Farquhar is, by nearly any standards, a patriot. With a handicap preventing him from fully participating in the Civil War, he does everything within the confines of his disability to help the South. No task too menial, no danger too great, Peyton was willing to do anything he could to give the Confederacy an edge over the North. There is, perhaps, a parallel between Farquhar 's mysterious ailment and the asthma that plagued Bierce since childhood (“Ambrose Bierce”). Though it didn’t prevent him from serving in the military himself, I would contend that he goes to some length to point out that even those that are not fully physically capable can still accomplish great things and contribute to a ‘greater good.’
Farquhar eventually finds himself at the mercy of a platoon of Union soldiers. Despite the seemingly non-violent nature of this civilian’s crimes, the soldiers have taken swift and unilateral control of his life, becoming judge, jury,…
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