The short story “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce is a narrative about a man from Alabama who is being hung for opposing the northern troops during the Civil war. Bierce effectively breaks the story into three sections each of which concentrates on a different aspect of the situation at hand. Bierce also uses detailed imagery to realistically set up the scene for the story. Most striking of all is the manipulation of time that deceives the reader and results in a surprise ending. Initially the story starts with the preparation of the hanging of Peyton Farquhar.
In this section, soldiers are everywhere getting ready to hang Peyton and there is silence everywhere. Peyton is facing the stream and standing on the edge of a plank fixing his last thoughts. In the second section, after fixing his thoughts Peyton goes into a daydream. He daydreams that an officer comes to his house to tell him they are fixing the railroad under the bridge, and lures him on to burn the bridge. Furthermore, it is revealed that Peyton is a well-to-do planter, a civilian, and an old family man.
The escape, the third section Peyton escapes, but only in his dreams. Peyton leads us on to think he gets out of the rope, dodges bullets, and makes it to shore alive. Bierce uses this to attract the readers and make the detailed imagery. Bierce tells the story in detailed imagery multiple times throughout Peyton’s daydream. Some of the detailed imagery that makes this story so believable would be when Peyton believes the rope has broken. He says while he falls “he saw the individual trees and the leaves on them, and the veins on the leaves. ” (Par. 0) In ddition, Peyton also goes into brief conversation saying “how he was in full possession of his physical scenes,” (Par. 20) making the readers think he escaped. Furthermore, Peyton goes into deep description when he says “he noted the colors in all the dewdrops upon a million blades of grass. “(Par. 20) This imagery makes the readers connect and makes the time manipulative. The manipulation of time was used in this story because we hear the story in the past, present, and the future. In the past, Bierce shows that Peyton was going to burn the bridge down.
In the present, Bierce reveals that Peyton is going to get hung and the preparations of the hanging. The future is revealed in Peyton’s daydream. The daydream is what Peyton wanted to happen and the daydream was used to make the time in the story useful and believable. To conclude “An occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” is a short story divided into three parts. The story is full of imagery and manipulation of time and lastly, is written so well that it leads the readers to think that the escape is real. An Occurrence at Owl creek bridge By Jennicab