Cite This Page
 
To Go
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
by Ambrose Bierce

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Analysis

Literary Devices in An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

A Long Freakin' Time Ago Because we're talking about a story very much rooted in history, it's important to think about the historical setting. In the story itself, Bierce never tells us the date o...

Narrator Point of View

The narrator knows what Peyton Farquhar thinks and how he feels, and is able to go into great detail about Farquhar's hanging. Since the narrator's knowledge is limited to Farquhar, we don't know m...

Genre

Bierce wrote his stories of the Civil War a few decades after the conflict ended, so he was writing about a historical era that was long gone. In 1890, however, the effects of the war were still ev...

Tone

Any narrator who describes a condemned man as "engaged in being hanged" (1.4) automatically qualifies for the Sardonic Tone Award (the Tone-y Awards ceremony is only slightly less boring than the O...

Writing Style

Bierce's style qualifies as both descriptive and ambiguous. He provides a lot of information but also withholds important aspects of the story. Here are just some of the story's components that are...

What's Up With the Title?

At first the title of the story seems pretty straightforward. It seems mostly descriptive: this is a story about something that happens at Owl Creek Bridge. All true enough. What we find interestin...

What's Up With the Ending?

Bierce's story and Farquhar's journey end with a simple, declarative sentence: Peyton Farquhar was dead; his body, with a broken neck, swung gently from side to side beneath the timbers of the Owl...

Tough-o-Meter

You won't tear your hair out trying to understand this story, but you might spend some time pondering what exactly happens after Farquhar falls through the bridge. Does Farquhar imagine his entire...

Plot Analysis

Standing around on a bridge, waiting to die The first few paragraphs of the story set the scene by describing the moments before a man's execution. We don't know who the man is or why he is being h...

Trivia

At the age of 71, Ambrose Bierce decided to travel to Mexico. The year was 1913 and the Mexican Revolution was in full swing. Bierce disappeared without a trace (source).Owl Creek is real. It borde...

Steaminess Rating

People, this is a story about a man being hanged. What do you expect, Breaking Dawn? Sorry to disappoint, but Peyton Farquhar and his wife sitting on a bench together is the closest this story gets...

Allusions

"Unsteadfast footing" (1.4) – Shakespeare, William, Henry IV Part 1 Act 1, Scene 3 lines 518-524 Aeolian Harp (3.14) – Named after Aeolus, the Greek god of wind, an Aeolian harp doesn't require...

Need help with College?