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Thread: "Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge"

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    "Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge"

    I don't fully understand the end of the story. Does the Protagonist die by a shot or is it just his imagination after being hung?

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Peyton Farquhar is dead at the end of the story. He was hanged. That's it. The escape occurs entirely in his imagination during the two seconds between the officer stepping off the board and the rope breaking his neck.

    Bierce provides a lot of evidence that the escape is not real. Farquhar is too strong for reality: he loosens the ropes on his wrists and legs, he sees the spiders on the leaves and even the eye of a soldier firing at him; he runs and runs to reach his home.

  3. #3
    The Fair Romantic Lionheart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Cultural Existentialism
    Peyton Farquhar was a tragic figure that died before he had really lived. He went into the war with green behind his ears and in a pool of self-delusion that armed conflict was a gentleman's sport like fox hunting. However, he found out the hard way, after getting tricked into attempting to blow up that bridge.

    My English Composition II class read this in class last semester and the other students reviled him as a Southern racist that approved too much of slavery; on the other hand, I thought that the protagonist dying before he had lived was strikingly human and tragic.
    "The goal of man is to smile at a raging storm that once bore fear in his heart." - Boethius

  4. #4
    I loved this spooky story! The ending is pretty plain when you think about it, but without knowing Bierce and other short stories of similar types, I can see being a little bit confused.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Bierce was a cynic and like many cynics had a cruel streak in his imagination. It can be seen in this and other stories such as Horseman in the Sky and also in the wonderful Devils Dictionary. This is an excellent story for looking at plot construction and point of view.

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