Questions: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and Farquhar Essay

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Harris 1

Austin Harris English III Honors An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Questions 3 April 2013 Making Meanings 1. The story An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge ends abruptly. After eloquently depicting the gentlemen Peyton Farquhar’s escape to freedom, one would believe that the man did escape through a sort of miracle and was lucky enough to be in the arms of his wife again. The story is cut short when the reader learns that the man did not escape and that he was merely day dreaming. The technique that Ambrose Bierce used to construct the story, keeps the reader on their toes. One may feel a little cheated when the story rapidly changes to horror and they are literally left hanging in disbelief of their readings. 2. The third part of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is told in third person omniscient. The author chose to tell the story in this way so that the immense feelings and details of Farquhar’s mind proved to still be exuberant, yet the overall finale of the story could still be told in a shocking way. 3. Ambrose Bierce persuades readers to feel more sympathetic for the confederate side of the war. The soldier who came to Farquhar’s home in the night deceived Farquhar for the advantage of the union military. The solider was a federal scout. The scout’s words is the factor that sets Farquhar up for death. Because of this detail, and the further depiction of war in the story, readers sway to be more sympathetic on the innocence of Farquhar and his side of the war.

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The story An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge helps describe the psychology of a person in a life of or death scenario. At the point at which someone believes they are going to die, they focus on what matters most to them in their lives. For Farquhar, that would include his wife and children. He desperately imagines an escape from his doom. He is so engulfed in the thoughts of his imagination that he truly believes it is occurring, until he ultimately is cursed with the death he knew was coming. Ambrose Bierce depicts the psychology very accurately of one who can wish anything in the word but not to bed dead.


Although Bierce’s story focuses in depth on the psychology of the human being, bits of human nature are also woven into the text. It is human nature to believe something unreal, if the thing you believe in is better than reality. Furthermore, humans sense of survival and their emotions will always lead them to not only believe they can do something, but try to accomplish it as well. Reading Check

A. In part I of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Ambrose Bierce describes Farquhar to be getting readied by sentinels to be hung, his ultimate doom. The section ends with a guard stepping off the other end of the platform that held Farquhar up. At this point, one would assume Farquhar dies. B. Part II of the story gives a brief telling of how Farquhar’s life was lived, and how he inevitably came to the position he stood that day. It starts off depicting Farquhar as a well-todo southern planter in Alabama. He seized every opportunity to help his military out as