An Occurrence At Owl Creek Hill Short Story Analysis

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In Ambrose Bierce’s short story, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Hill, a man named Peyton Farquhar is about to be hanged for treason against the Union. While waiting to fall off the bridge to hang, Farquhar thinks back to his wife and child he left back home. He thinks of everything that brings him joy in life before his final breath. He is then dropped from the bridge, but instead of dying the rope snaps and he plunges into the water underneath the bridge. Farquhar eventually escapes his captors and makes it back home to his loving family, once again happy and at ease. Suddenly Peyton Farquhar is dead, hanging from the bridge. His escape was only a figment of his imagination. Bierce uses a plethora of literary techniques to produce suspense in his short story.
Some of the different literary techniques used in this short story are imagery, symbolism, foreshadowing, some flashbacks, and irony. In the middle of the story the reader is tricked into believing that Farquhar escapes his execution because of the author continuing to explain the fantasy that is going on in Farquhar's head on the bridge. This type of irony makes this part of the story suspenseful to the reader because the reader doesn’t know the truth nor do they know if Farquhar will successfully escape his demise or be caught once again.
Throughout the time Farquhar is standing on the bridge awaiting his demise he will often flashback to fond memories of his family and even to how he got himself into this predicament. Due to his status as a slave owner politician, he chose not to become a soldier for the war. But he still wanted to support and do anything that would benefit the Confederate cause. One day a soldier in gray told him how a Union fort had been set up near a bridge being used as a supply route to the fort. This gave Farquhar the idea to destroy the bridge in order to interfere with the Union fort. Before he could successfully follow through with his plan, he was caught by some Union soldiers. This use of flashbacks in the story creates suspense because it informs the reader of the events that happened before to bring Farquhar to the present where he’s about to meet his end.
Imagery is heavily used when the rope snaps and Farquhar falls into

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