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An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

by Ambrose Bierce

Warfare Quotes Page 1

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

A sentinel at each end of the bridge stood with his rifle in the position known as "support," that is to say, vertical in front of the left shoulder, the hammer resting on the forearm thrown straight across the chest -- a formal and unnatural position, enforcing an erect carriage of the body. (1.1)

In this story, there is something very unnatural about war, and that is reflected in the body positions of the two sentinels. Take a look at the theme of "Justice and Judgment" for further discussion on the soldiers' role in the story.

Quote #2

Beyond one of the sentinels nobody was in sight; the railroad ran straight away into a forest for a hundred yards, then, curving, was lost to view. Doubtless there was an outpost farther along. The other bank of the stream was open ground -- a gentle slope topped with a stockade of vertical tree trunks, loopholed for rifles, with a single embrasure through which protruded the muzzle of a brass cannon commanding the bridge. (1.2)

The war has made its mark on the natural landscape, and even the isolated bridge over Owl Creek is not free of its influence.

Quote #3

"My home, thank God, is as yet outside their lines; my wife and little ones are still beyond the invader's farthest advance." (1.6)

Farquhar believes that his family is safe from war's influence, but his execution proves him wrong. In this story, civilians are obviously vulnerable during wartime.

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