Theme Of An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge

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Guns cracking, cannons roaring, and the final plank of an execution is heard by spectators splashing into the water below during one of the most remarkable struggles in American history. The setting of “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” takes place during the Civil War. Ambrose Bierce enlisted in the Civil War when he was eighteen. He uses this experience in his writing to create a more realistic setting for his short story. Bierce was a Confederate soldier, as is Peyton. Peyton attempts to blow up the bridge, but gets caught and is sentenced to be hanged. As Peyton is about to be hanged, he imagines the rope breaks allowing him to escape. “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce creates an illusion of reality through the use of imagery but hides important details through the use of foreshadowing and allusion. In the story, Bierce uses extremely descriptive imagery to make the reader believe the events are actually taking place. As Peyton Farquhar faces inevitable death, he sees and hears things that one would only notice as their life was flashing before their eyes. “A fish slid along beneath his eyes and he heard the rush of its body parting the water” (Bierce 4). The author writes this to show how extreme the sounds and details were that Peyton was noticing. Peyton sees and hears even the faintest of things. Bierce writes, “The leaves and the veining of each leaf”, to emphasize Peyton’s surroundings which allows for a clearer picture of what he is seeing

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