Review of 'An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge'

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Ambrose Bierce was famous for his strange and mysterious stories of ghosts, monsters, aliens and the supernatural, and "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" was one of his weirdest. This story has virtually no dialogue of any kind, except the inner thoughts of Peyton Farquhar as he is about to be hanged, followed by a dream-like flashback that happened as he imagined the rope had broken. Bierce was a Union Army veteran, and made it clear that he was not particularly fond of this secessionist planter and slave owner. In the second part of the story, Farquhar is tantalized by the dream or hallucination of having escaped the hangman after the rope broke and making his way home. He swims away from the bridge and runs a long distance, and in the end is tantalized by an image of his wife and children, waiting for him at home. This was only in his mind, though, and in the end he is literally jerked back into reality and ends up hanging there dead at the end of a rope. Perhaps Bierce wished to deny any possibility of the afterlife and an immortal soul, or he simply did not want to offer any hope of these to a character modeled after his own enemies from the Civil War. Bierce was a veteran of the Union Army in the Civil War, having served for almost the entire four years in 1861-65, and not particularly sympathetic to this Southern gentleman and slaveholder, who was a strong supporter of secession and the Confederacy. Up to this point, however, Farquhar had found some reason to avoid

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