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An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

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by

Kaira Rushing

on 3 June 2013

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Transcript of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

by Ambrose Bierce An Occurrence at
Owl Creek Bridge Who is Ambrose Bierce? Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was born the 24th of June in the year 1842. He was born in Meigs County, Ohio. Bierce is the tenth child in a family of thirteen children. He is best known for his short story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" and "The Devil's Dictionary," a book of sarcastic vocabulary. Who is Ambrose Bierce? (cont.) Early in his life, Bierce worked on an abolitionist newspaper in Indiana. Later he enrolls in the Kentucky Military Institute. Having fought during the Civil War, much of Bierce's writing is strongly influenced by his time serving. After a life of being a soldier, an editor, a writer, a columnist, a husband, a father, and a miner, Ambrose Bierce passed away sometime in December of 1914. This story takes place in Alabama during the American Civil War. It was originally published in 1890, several years after the Civil War had ended. (As previously stated) Bierce's time fighting during the Civil War may have influenced this work. Literary Information
and Connections Characters Vocabulary Peyton Farquhar: protagonist; a devoted Southern planter who is to be hanged.

Mrs. Farquhar: Peyton Farquhar's wife; little is learned about her.

Union Soldiers: includes executioners, sentinels, overseeing officers on the bridge, and soldiers along the Owl Creek shore.

Union Scout: soldier who wears Confederate gray when he rides onto Farquhar's plantation and asks for a drink of water.

(**Note: Peyton means "warrior state", Farquhar means "very dear one.") Text-to-Text Connection Richard Cory by Edwin Arlington Robinson

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
'Good-morning,' and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich - yes, richer than a king -
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head. Text-to-World Connection Theme and Symbols 1.

2.


3.


4.

5. acclivity: an upward slope.
ardently: passionate; expressive of or charact-
erized by intense feeling.
"the tolling of a death knell": the slow bell at a funeral; indicates death.
diminuendo: decreasing in loudness.
grape: short for grapeshot; several small iron balls fired from a cannon. 6.



7.

8.

9.
10. sleepers: pieces of timber,
stone, or steel on/near the ground to support a superstructure; railroad ties.
presaging: to be a sign or warning.
poignant: evoking a keen sense of sadness or regret.
interminable: endless.
effaced: erased; made insignificant. Historical Content analyzed by Kaira R., Samm G., and Ruby C. Discussion & Activity Discussion Questions Activity 1. Why did the wife give the soldier water instead of having a slave do it?

2. What are some signs of foreshadowing throughout that story that lead up to the surprising ending?

3. Using this story alone, how do you feel the author feels about war?

4. Do you think Faruqhar deserved to be hanged? Why or why not?

5. The author spends more time discussing the life of Peyton Farquhar rather than discussing his death. Why is this?

6. Why does Bierce change tenses throughout the story?

7. What are some symbols in the story, and what do they represent? Thank you! :) THE WINNER MAY NOW OPEN THEIR PRESENT. ENJOY IT! Reality vs. Illusions: we all interpret the story in slightly different ways, and Peyton is interpretting his life differently through his illusion; none of knew the reality until the very end.
Time: time went slow enough for Peyton that he could live out a large fantasy, but it went fast enough to kill him within seconds.
Warfare: war is the cause of all of this, Bierce speaks of war negatively.

Light - life : Peyton is surrounded by light at first, but then it slowly becomes fainter and fainter.
Owl Creek Bridge - line between life and death : Peyton is alive while on the bridge, but is hanged and dead off of the bridge.
Mrs. Farquhar - innocence, safety : when Peyton has a fantasy or flashback involving his wife, she is innocent and well behaved, and Peyton is safe with her.
Peyton's watch - time : Peyton's watch ticks before he is hanged, and he fears it; his time is running out.
Soldiers - war : they are unforgiving and harsh, brutality of war.
"Sluggish" stream: - time : it is moving slowly, just as time begins to slow down for Peyton's flashback and fantasy. We will come back to these after our discussion! :) This whole time, the winner thought they were getting one thing, but it turned out to be something else. You were disillusioned. You may now feel disappointed because this prize is not what you expected. You expected something better, didn't you? Peyton Farquhar imagined he'd be free and in the arms of his wife, but he was disillusioned as well (to a greater extreme, obviously!). Don't worry, you'll get a treat! (: This poem isn't exactly identical to An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, but there are some similarities. In both situations, things start of slow and positive for the most part. They both have an upsetting and unexpected ending. Everyone has heard of the Alzheimer's case, or the delusional and confused elderly person, make believing that they are somewhere else. They forget recent occurrences, and they convince themselves that they are somewhere else. Peyton Farquhar is in a predicament that he is definitely not comfortable with, and so he puts himself somewhere else.
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