Death, a difficult topic, a time when you no longer live, no longer breathe, the deadline in one’s life where they abruptly cease to exist. The topic of death is spoken of in many forms of literature, including a short story by Ambrose Bierce; An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. Farquhar, is the main character in this story who is being hung for trying to set a Union bridge on fire. Throughout this story, Bierce tells us through imagery of what thoughts and feelings Peyton goes through, as he comes face to face with death. We can see this through the common ideology of death, how Peyton explains his surroundings, and the outcome Peyton
This is an example of how the closer he comes to death, the slower time seems to move for him. In one moment the river is moving rapidly and in the next it is described as sluggish. Yet through the anticipation time is speeding up. It is as if the suspense has frozen time all together.
The short story An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce is a short story about a man named Peyton Farquhar is about to be hanged. The story takes place during the Civil War and Farquhar is constantly thinking of his wife and children at home. He dreams that he is able to escape and run to safety, where he finds his wife. When he goes to hug her, he suddenly feels a strong pain around his neck. Farquhar is then hanging off the bridge with the noose still around his neck. He imagined all of this before he was hanged.
In “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”, Bierce starts her short story on the edge with Peyton Farquhar, a 35 year old planter from the south, standing on Owl Creek Bridge with his hands tied behind his back and a noose around his neck. There are soldiers from the north surrounding him. Two soldiers, one on each side of him, take away the plank in which he is standing on. Falling to the water, Farquhar focuses his last thoughts on his family, while also having hopes of freeing his hands and diving into the water below.
Ambrose Bierce’s short story, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” illustrates a theme of illusion versus reality distorted by the human mind. In the story, a man named Peyton Farquhar is about to be hanged on a railroad bridge towards the end of the American Civil War. Farquhar, a Confederate citizen eager to help the Confederate States of America’s cause, ventures out towards Owl Creek Bridge at the advice of a Union scout in disguise. Unbeknownst to Farquhar, Union troops captured the bridge and surrounding territory, and upon capturing Farquhar, elect to hang him on charges of being a Confederate spy and sympathizer. As he is being hanged, however, Farquhar is able to escape his fate by falling into the river below. He manages to return back to his home, only to find out the entire experience of escape was an illusion created by his own imagination. The story concludes with the revelation that he actually died on the railroad bridge. Farquhar’s mind was able to create a whole new reality for himself. This reality was vivid, and it seems real to the reader until the very end of the story. The hallucination also spanned hours, yet in reality time passed for only a few seconds. Ambrose Bierce’s story demonstrates the impeccable powers of the human mind and its ability to distort time and reality for itself.
It is believed that when people die their life flashes before their eyes, or they identify a white light at the end of a hallway and they feel compelled to walk toward it. No matter what is seen, it is all created by their imagination. In a few cases, the images can be almost as real as reality, such as in the story “The Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce where a man believes he escaped death just to be snapped back into reality. His demise may have been quick to come to the men who caused it, but thanks to the author and the main character’s imagination; the time before his death was full of prolonged suspense. Ambrose Bierce utilizes four major techniques that intensify the feelings of suspense from the reader, which include
Ambrose Bierce’s short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” is a story about a man’s final moments on earth before he is hanged and how he got there. There is a struggle within the character Farquhar of who he is and who he thinks he is. This causes different views throughout the story between reality and a fantasized reality. This plays a big role in the story because in part three of the story he thinks he is far superior and had outwitted his captures and escaped without a scratch after the rope broke and fell into the water. In reality he had been hanged and his body was swaying back and forth. This story had more meaning then just the top layer of being just about a guy who is being hanged. The meaning of this story is how fluid time moves, by this I mean how time seems to flow like a river it can move fast to slow and even seem to stand still. It has a secondary meaning of how we can fantasize another reality that can cause troubles for us. By this I mean you can envision your self into another world when you are still in the actual world, this can cause you to get yourself into a lot of trouble.
Have you ever been in a class that seemed to go on forever, one day, but rushed by the next? How were you feeling differently those two days? With your different feelings, did the time seem to pass differently? This idea is a major topic in “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce. This story is set during the American Civil War and follows Peyton Farquhar, who is supposed to be executed at Owl Creek Bridge. He awaited his death with apprehension, his life seemed to flash before his eyes. All of a sudden, Farquhar believed he was able to escape, running away from the bridge, only to reveal that he was hanging with a broken neck beneath the bridge. A major theme in the story is how people perceive time differently based on their emotions. This is demonstrated when Farquhar is anticipating his death, when it flashes back to the past, and when he is escaping from the execution.
To understand what happens at the point of death is impossible unless to be experienced. In “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce is set during the civil war during a northern advancement of the south. It opens at end of Peyton Farquhar’s life just before he will be hung for intruding on Union soldiers bridge of burn it. The story introduces the stages of death as a person would go through them.
I chose this source from the National Archives due to its relevance to the era in which “The Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”, by Ambrose Bierce was written. This document stresses the life of Confederate citizens in relation to contact with Federal soldiers. It includes information about citizens loyal to the Confederate flag spying, violating military orders, citizens moving through military installations, citizens not surrendering to the Union, and citizens committing sabotage to Federal arms. Citizens also provided business firms and services to assist the Confederate war effort, even after being seized by Federal arms. Civilian businesses even northward provided Confederate espionage, deceit, and the hiding of Confederate guerilla forces.
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, directed by Robert Enrico, depicts an occurrence in the mind of Peyton Farquhar. He is a civilian who tampers with the Union’s railroad system and is going to be hanged, and all he can think about is escaping and getting home to his wife. Unfortunately, death is a reality and no one can escape it.
Out of all the stories I have read in class so far, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce, has touched me most. When I first began reading the story I felt as though I was not interested, because my assumptions of what the story was going to be about were completely different than the stories actual content. As I set aside my judgment and let myself try to enjoy the story, I found myself anxiously reading to the bitter end. This story was not only interesting and unique, but also had an added twist at the end, which surprised most readers. Depending on how observant the reader is with picking up on foreshadowing and symbolic meaning, one may realize before the final sentences that Peyton Farquar was not actually escaping
The short story, “An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce, is quite strange and vivid in its description of the final moments before death. It gives a sudden burst of hope to the reader with the escape of main character, Peyton Farquhar.
..Standing on a plank on a railroad bridge in northern Alabama is a man with his hands bound behind his back. Around his neck is a noose. Twenty feet below him is the swift water of Owl Creek. Next to him are two Union soldiers, acting as executioners, with a sergeant directing the proceedings. Nearby is a captain. Sentinels stand watch at each end of the bridge. On one bank of the creek is a forest, and on the other bank is a line of trees serving as a stockade. Poking out of an opening is a cannon. A company of soldiers on the shore observes the scene on the bridge.
The article “Just a Half a Mile from the Mississippi Bridge”: The Mississippi River Valley Origins of Rock and Roll” was written by Dr. Michael Allen Ph.D. who is a history professor of the School of Arts and Sciences, at the University of Washington, Tacoma. The article is part of a work that Allen is currently working on titled, “Mississippi River Valley: The Course of American Civilization”, which discusses the significance and relevance of the Mississippi River area in American history. Because Allen is writing from the geographic distance of the Northwest, he may have a more objective viewpoint of historical events than someone who is living inside Southern culture. The article was written in 2015 for the Southern Quarterly, which is a