Critique Of An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge

Decent Essays
Critique of “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”

Summary of Major Ideas In “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” Ambrose Bierce tells the story of Peyton Farquhar, a man who is about to be hanged for aiding the Confederacy during the Civil War. In the moments before his hanging, he reminisces about scheming to set a bridge on fire in order to prohibit the advancement of Union soldiers, which is why he is being hanged. Peyton then begins plotting his escape and the reader is tricked into thinking he escapes his execution and makes it safely to his house, when in reality he is actually hanged.
Critical Evaluation First, Bierce effectively portrays imagery through his thorough description of the setting at Owl Creek Bridge. He starts by describing a man standing on a railroad bridge, gazing into the water several feet below with his hands tied and a rope around his neck. This really gives the reader the view and the physical feeling from the man’s perspective. Bierce also explains the various positions of the soldiers on the bridge and how their stances would have looked. For example he writes, “A sentinel at each end of the bridge stood with his rifle in the position known as ‘support,’ that is to say, vertical in front of the left shoulder, the hammer resting on the forearm thrown straight across the chest—a formal and unnatural position, enforcing an erect carriage of the body” (Bierce, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, 183). As a soldier in the Union Army, Bierce could
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