Owl Creek Bridge Foreshadowing

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In “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce, a respected Alabama planter and slave-owner, Peyton Farquhar, is being hanged for disobeying an order from the Yanks. The order is to stay away from bridges during a Civil War advance, and Farquhar is conspiring to blow up a bridge. Farquhar’s demise is foreshadowed using several literary techniques, such as preternatural plot elements and imagery. To start, preternatural plot elements are implied to foreshadow Farquhar’s death when he hears the distant sound of something striking a metallic object while he is awaiting his execution. “Striking through the thought of his dear ones was a sound which he could neither ignore nor understand, a sharp, distinct, metallic percussion like the…show more content…
Farquhar’s merely escapes being shot by the soldiers and vividly describes his surroundings. Ambrose depicts what Farquhar visualizes when “He looked at the forest on the bank of the stream, saw the individual trees, the leaves and the veining of each leaf--saw the very insects upon them” (Bierce ). One knows that he is a good distance from the trees since he is in the river and looking at the forest. This concludes that he is not living in reality at that moment due to the impossibility of being able to see the leaves and insects in such detail from far away. Hence, he will most likely still be hanged since nothing he is experiencing is real. In conclusion, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” demonstrates several foreshadowing techniques to predict Farquhar’s fate, such as imagery and preternatural plot elements. The preternatural ability to hear a watch ticking at a vociferous volume reveals that Farquhar was simply imagining that his time is ticking away. Also, the use of imagery when he is unnaturally describing the distant trees in great detail shows that he is dreaming about that as well and not living in reality, so he has not escaped the fact that he will die in real
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