Everyone knows Whitman as a poet and the author of one of the most studied books of American poetry, Leaves of Grass. What is less well known is that Whitman was trained as a printer and throughout his life spent time in printing shops and binderies, often setting type himself and always intimately involved in the design and production of his books.
Plot summary[ edit ] Peyton Farquhar, a civilian and plantation owner, is being prepared for execution by hanging from an Alabama railroad bridge during the American Civil War. Six military men and a company of infantrymen are present, guarding the bridge and carrying out the sentence.
Farquhar thinks of his wife and children and is then distracted by a noise that, to him, sounds like an unbearably loud clanging; it is actually the ticking of his watch. He considers the possibility of jumping off the bridge and swimming to safety if he can free his tied hands, but the soldiers drop him from the bridge before he can act on the idea.
In a flashback, Farquhar and his wife are relaxing at home one evening when a soldier rides up to the gate. Farquhar, a supporter of the Confederacylearns from him that Union troops have seized the Owl Creek railroad bridge and repaired it. The soldier suggests that Farquhar might be able to burn the bridge down if he can slip past its guards.
He then leaves, but doubles back after nightfall to return north the way he came. The soldier is actually a disguised Union scout who has lured Farquhar into a trap as any civilian caught interfering with the railroads will be hanged.
The story returns to the present, and the rope around Farquhar's neck breaks when he falls from the bridge into the creek.
He frees his hands, pulls the noose away, and rises to the surface to begin his escape. His senses now greatly sharpened, he dives and swims downstream to avoid rifle and cannon fire.
Once he is out of range, he leaves the creek to begin the journey to his home, 30 miles away. Farquhar walks all day long through a seemingly endless forest, and that night he begins to hallucinate, seeing strange constellations and hearing whispered voices in an unknown language.
He travels on, urged by the thought of his wife and children despite the pains caused by his ordeal. The next morning, after having apparently fallen asleep while walking, he finds himself at the gate to his plantation.
He rushes to embrace his wife, but before he can do so, he feels a heavy blow upon the back of his neck; there is a loud noise and a flash of white, and "then all is darkness and silence".
It is revealed that Farquhar never escaped at all; he imagined the entire third part of the story during the time between falling through the bridge and the noose breaking his neck. Ambrose Biercec. The word "occurrence" in the title of the story demonstrates how common the loss of life is within war, lessening the perceived value of those human lives.
Farquhar's fantasy demonstrates the danger of having illusions about war, because war is not a love story that ends with running to one's wife's arms; it has ruthless and pitiless punishment.
Another theme present is that of "dying with dignity". The story shows the reader that the perception of "dignity" provides no mitigation for the deaths that occur in warfare.
The final idea is the idea of psychological escape right before death. Farquhar experiences an intense delusion to distract him from his inevitable death. The moment of horror that the readers experience at the end of the piece, when they realize that he dies, reflects the distortion of reality that Farquhar encounters.
As he himself once put it, bitter Bierce detested " Instead, they only witness the hallucination of such an escape taking place in the character's unconscious mind which is governed by the instinct of self-preservation.
In retrospect we see that the title—if taken literally—from the outset provides the readers with the information that there will not be any change of scenery at all because simply an occurrence at that bridge is announced.
The entire story might well be read as a parable:"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" () is a short story by the American writer and Civil War veteran Ambrose Bierce. Regarded as "one of the most famous and frequently anthologized stories in American literature", it was originally published by The San Francisco Examiner on July 13, , and was first collected in Bierce's book Tales of Soldiers and Civilians ().
Analysis of Bierce Essay Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (born June 24, ; assumed to have died sometime after December 26, ) was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist, and satirist.
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Go to: Distributed Proofreaders. urbanagricultureinitiative.com offers students of all levels assistance in coming up with a workable thesis statement or essay topic.
Here you will find detailed paper topics, essay ideas, thesis statements (that can also be used as study questions or essay prompts) on many novels, short stories, and plays with explanations on how to move from the initial idea to the final product. "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce, is a short story with a unique plot twist.
Ambrose Bierce uses time as a way of manipulating the reader's perspective. Time is defined by "a nonspatial continuum in which events occur in apparently irreversible succession.". While reading “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce.
The sense of time, descriptive writing, and plot make this short story, I feel, very worthy of .