Critical essay on ambrose bierce and "an occurence at owl creek bridge".

Essay by libyangqCollege, Undergraduate November 2003

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Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914), better known as "Bitter Bierce" is one of the most mysterious writers of all time. His life is portrayed as an example of one of his pieces, a life with no apparent ending but more of a disappearance. His style was ill-humored, grotesque, and very unorthodox. Throughout the story, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge", Bierce uses ample examples of realism, yet he detests it.

The story begins when Peyton Farquhar is about to be executed by hanging; with a rope around his neck, He stands on a plank on the edge of a bridge, and when the plank is removed he will fall into the water below, yet never reaching it, due to the shortness of the rope which will both break his neck and strangle him.

However, in that brief time between the fall off the plank and the jerk of his body weight at the end of the rope, Farquhar visions himself escaping the execution.

He pictures himself hitting the water, untying his hands, swimming to the shore, and running through the woods to his plantation to his wife. He even concludes that something about this whole thing is not quite right, but disregards most of the clues which would foreshadow his death. He compares the crack of his neck breaking to a rifle shot, and the extension of his tongue during strangulation as a sign of thirst. But all these events will not make a difference, because it's nothing more than his "life passing before his eyes".

The setting is set in the middle of the Civil War, the conflict between the Union and the Confederacy. The main cause of the war was slavery but many other aspects played a role as well. The Southern states depended on slavery to maintain...