An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge Fantasy Vs Reality Essay

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Fantasy versus reality is a theme used in many short stories to misdirect readers and make settings or objects seem what they are not. The theme is often used to draw a blurred line between what is make-believe and what is truth. Many authors use the theme to mislead readers into thinking something else is going on, only to reveal the truth later in the story. This theme is apparent in the short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce. Bierce was a writer born in 1842. In 1862, he attended Kentucky Military Institute. He then continued his military services by enlisting in the Union Army during the beginning of the Civil War. After fighting in several military engagements, Bierce left the army in 1867 and became a writer for a magazine and then a news outlet. After becoming a well-known writer, Bierce used his military experience as a source for his short stories. He was admired but often frowned upon for being a man of mystery and contradiction. (“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” 161) The…show more content…
Throughout the story, Bierce writes in a way that seems to oppose the theme he uses. Through Bierce’s telling of the story, he suggests fantasies like Farquhar’s are cowardly and will often lead to negative consequences (“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” 163) “…he feels a stunning blow upon the back of the neck; a blinding white light blazes all about him with a sound like a shock of a cannon – then all is darkness and silence.” (Bierce) This quote, near the end of the story, is what reveals that Farquhar has been fantasizing the whole length of the story. The quote also shows that he is ultimately executed and that the fantasy was his personal distraction from the harsh reality he faces. Farquhar transforms from a military dreamer into a man who is desperate to escape the horrors he faces. (Wilson and Moss 258) Farquhar’s mind creates illusions that distract him from what is really
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