Ambrose Bierce Essay

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Ambrose Bierce’s Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge In cursory read of “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” which often involves close attention to the dream escape of Peyton Farquhar and the plot of this Ambrose Bierce story, one of the more striking elements of the tale is the cold and distant narrator who relates, with icy distance, the scene before him in meticulous and often, what may seem like unnecessary detail. This highly distanced narrator in “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” creates a sense of distance for the reader as well and by the end of the story, when it is clear that Farquhar is dead, the ending is all the more shocking because the narrator sets himself as being highly credible for real events because of his precision with the beginning details and exact descriptions. In short, for this essay on “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce, examine the narrator as a developer of reader trust in “An Occurrence at Owl Creek” and examine the way in which he or she lends to the shock of the ending via narrative techniques. One of the strange paradoxes concerning “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce is its strong and disconcerting blending of genres. On the surface and, in fact, for the first-time reader of the story, until the end this seems like a quintessential work of realism but in fact, as the conclusion reveals, it is anything but realism; it is more surrealism as it is discovered that this was an elaborate dream. This blend of realism and the surreal in “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” serves the function of forcing the reader to call into question the reliability of the narrator and more importantly, in a broader sense, asks us to consider what we expect from fiction. If we expect truth, we are rewarded by meticulous attention to detail and descriptions that transport us to this place, but if we do not expect truth
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