Student Name: Jenna Normandin
Story Title and Year Published: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (1891)
Author, and years lived: Ambrose Bierce, (1814-1914?)
Historical, cultural, and/or political contexts affecting this author and his/her work: With distinction, Ambrose Bierce served in the Union Army during the Civil War, with his rank rising up to a major. His experiences in the war had a major impact on his writing.
Central Character, with brief description: Peyton Farquhar was dedicated to the South. He owned slaves and is immersed for the victory of the South. He intended to maintain his lifestyle exactly how it was.
Other Characters, with brief descriptions: The narrator talks a little about Farquhar’s wife and child. Also, the soldiers and lieutenants that are hanging and shooting at him.
Setting: (location and time period): The story takes place late May of 1862, located at Owl Creek Bridge in Alabama.
Narrator: (point of view): The narrator is talking in third person, limited omniscient.
Events in summary: This summary MUST be at least THREE well developed paragraphs incorporating all components of story structure)
The story starts off at a railroad bridge in Alabama with the Civil War taking place. A man stands over top of the bridge with his executioners. The man about to be executed is a civilian wearing normal plantation clothing and his assassins are Federal Union soldiers. As he waits for his death to occur, he gazes down at the water below him and begins to imagine his escape back to his wife and child. As the story prolongs, the narrator introduces Peyton Farquhar; the man who is about to be hanged. Farquhar is a wealthy Alabama man who owns slaves. He is not in the war but he supports the Confederates throughout the war. A man wearing a soldier uniform informed Farquhar about the Owl Creek Bridge that was currently being rebuilt. He told him there was flammable driftwood and any civilian caught there shall be hanged. After being informed, Farquhar checks it out. When he made his way to the bridge, it turned out to be a scam. The man who notified him was a Union scout. The soldiers took custody of him, followed through with the promise and they hanged him. Once he fell through the bridge, he began to think illogically. He imagined himself cutting loose of the noose and escaping. He created the illusion of making it back to his house; he stops at the gate trying to fling himself towards his wife. Once he grasped her, the light turned to darkness. With that, Farquhar was dead.
Writing Style: Bierce’s style is very descriptive. He doesn’t include dialogue, but he expresses a great deal of figurative imagery. He goes into detail about Farquhar’s appearance, the military procedure of the hanging, his thoughts before the execution, and the process of his escape.
Tone: The narrator’s tone in the story appears to be cynical