An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge Analysis

Submitted By anitagx3
Words: 399
Pages: 2

In the story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," writer Ambrose Bierce plays with readers' expectations. He sets up one narrative voice, only to switch to another, and he surprises readers with information the characters don't know (dramatic irony), as well as constantly shifts the story so you never quite know what is really going on. In some ways, Bierce raises more questions than he answers. Who is the narrator in the story? Is it Peyton? Is it a Northern solider writing a report of the death? Both? Someone else? In Peyton's dream sequences and flashbacks, who is making up these scenes?
Peyton? The soldier imagining what Peyton might be thinking and feeling? How does each of these possibilities affect the meaning of the story? Bierce has divided the story up into three sections, and each has different qualities. Pay attention to how the story and the narrative voices change in each section and how your sympathy for Peyton changes. The story is set in the Southern United States during the Civil War. Summary, Part I The story opens with a formal and newspaperlike tone describing the mechanical details of an army unit getting everything ready to hang someone. By the third paragraph, the story starts to zero in on the protagonist. The narrative voice is third-person limited and moves closer and closer to the man about to die until the reader sees his thoughts — "The arrangement commended itself to his judgment as simple and effective." The reader learns that this character, Peyton