"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce. An essay on this story relating the extreme detail and the actual storyline.

Essay by sadiemac_2004High School, 12th grade January 2003

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"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce was written with much attention paid to the minute details of the actual story. For example, the narrator describes in detail how the sentinels held their rifles. "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."

The setting is also thoroughly described and can almost be visibly seen by the reader because of this immense detail. One might feel as though he or she were actually there. The narrator tells where all of the guards and spectators (not really spectators, but infantry) were and what they were doing while this man was standing on the bridge with his hands tied behind his back.

Basically, the contents of the story explain that a man, Peyton Farquhar, was to be shot for a crime he committed. He was standing on a bridge, so as there was no escape, but, incredibly, he jumped. As far as the narrator tells the story, the men did not track down Farquhar and only shot at him after he jumped off of the bridge. After he got out of the river, he began traveling for home and actually returns home to his wife and children in what was certainly a dream. The fact that he is only hallucinating or dreaming is recognizable due to the fact that Farquhar died on Owl Creek bridge of a broken neck. So, despite his attempts to free himself and return home, they were all in vain and worthless, and gave him only a short time more to...