One would think after hearing that the end of the story is a shock; the reader would no longer be shocked. I had to read the ending several times to completely comprehend the ending despite its short length. The author's descriptive language was consistent throughout the story until the last few sentences. His description of the ripples in the water to the sound of the gunshots made every image vivid. However, Peyton's death happens so quick with barely any details. This symbolizes death in the sense that death happens very swiftly just like how the story ended. The writer directs the reader to sympathize with Peyton Farquhar. After reading most of the story, we believe that he is the innocent victim in this situation. He went looking for trouble by going to Owl Creek Bridge, but the author focuses on the soldiers trying to kill him and ignoring what he did to deserve this punishment.
The reader believed that the shock was that he survived the hanging, the fall, and the gunshots; which enhanced the feeling of being completely flabbergasted. The tone of the author made it even more of a shock. The story began in a slower tone and then started to speed up and it kept the reader in suspense throughout most of the story. It started to take a slower pace again which let the reader know that the story was coming to an end. The tone made the reader believe that there was going to be a happy ending and at the very last moment, the story takes 180 degree turn and it becomes heartbreaking.