Character Analysis: An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge

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An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
In the short story, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” over and over again Ambrose Bierce blurs the line between juxtaposing concepts. The most evident example of this is the mixture of illusion and reality. Readers are left searching for the truth as they experience the final moments of Peyton Farquhar’s life. While the primary focus of the short story is to describe the circumstances of Farquhar’s hanging, the nonlinear plot brings readers into the past and into Farquhar’s dream of escape, only to circle back to the unfortunate execution of the man. The repeated mention of the color gray symbolizes the unclear nature of the story, as does the setting of the bridge itself. The description of Farquhar also characterizes the conflicting features of a man caught in between the worlds of what is and what could have been. In this essay, I argue that all of these elements culminate in a story that sharply oscillates between illusions of grandeur and the harsh actuality of Farquhar’s situation.
The skipping plot is one of the most prominent
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The bridge, which most of the story centers around, is symbolic of Farquhar’s in-between stage. He is in-between illusion and reality. In order to come to grips with his imminent death, Farquhar has conjured a fantasy of a grand escape that leads him away from his fate and back towards his home and family. He is lost in his own mind as a coping mechanism to deal with the morbidity of his situation. The bridge also serves as a symbol of life and death. Owl Creek Bridge is both the literal and figurative location of Farquhar’s transition into death. Burning the bridge is the incentive that the federal scout used to lead Farquhar into a trap. It is also the physical place of his hanging. In multiple ways, the bridge serves as a symbolic bridge between both life and death and illusion and