Essay on An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce

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An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce

'An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge' by Ambrose Bierce is a 19th
Century mystery story that is set at the time of the American Civil
War (1861-1865) when the Slave owning Confederate States in the South engaged in conflict with the Federal Government of the USA. The story focuses on a character called Peyton Farquhar, whom is about to be summarily hung for trespassing on the Owl Creek Bridge; his fate is to be hung from that same bridge. The story ends with a curious twist in the plot. The main part of the story is set in Farquhar's mind, though whilst reading the reader is unsure (despite careful, hidden hints placed by Bierce) of this fact. Only at the end when it is clearly
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He is creating this event as a fact by using the precise language of a military drill, for example "position known as support", "parade rest", "hammer resting on the forearm". These details have a thematic effect as well- one Bierce identifies explicitly. The goal of establishing the reality of the situation is reinforced by the geographical and political references, for example "Alabama", "Federal". The arrangement of the troops has a thematic significance as well; Bierce makes the meaning of the ordered ranks explicit.

The narrative tone is clearly sarcastic in the second paragraph ~
"Death is a dignitary..to be received with formal manifestations of respect", "in the code of military etiquette silence and fixity are forms of deference"; the army are liberal only in its distribution of suffering and death. By now Bierce's tone is established; dry, ironic, exact, almost pedantic~ the voice of a satirist.

In the third paragraph more about the condemned man is revealed.
Bierce uses detailed descriptions of the man ~ "his features were good- straight nose, firm mouth, broad forehead, from which his long dark hair was combed straight back, falling behind his ears to the collar of his well fitting frock". His purpose was for the mind to emphasize feelings more towards the condemned man. We learn he is a gentleman and Bierce makes it clear by
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