“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”, is one of the best American short stories and is considered Ambrose Bierce’s best work. First revealed in Bierce’s short story assortment “Tales of Soldiers and Civilians” in 1891, this story is about Peyton Farquhar, a southern farmer who’s about to be hanged by the Union Army for making an attempt to set the railroad bridge at Owl Creek on hearth. While Farquhar is standing on the bridge with a rope around his neck, Bierce leads the reader to think that the rope snaps and he falls into the river, after which makes an amazing escape and at last returns to his farm, to be reunited with his spouse.
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However the ending of the story is totally completely different, in fact, Farquhar is hanged and these imaginings take place seconds earlier than his demise. Ambrose Bierce’s trick ending succeeds because of the way he manipulated the text by altering the narrative point of view from one kind to another.
“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” is divided into three sections, with each section having a different narrative type.
In the primary part, the author uses dramatic narration: the story is told by no one. With the disappearance of the narrator, the reader is now the direct and quick witness to the unfolding drama. The reader views the work from the surface. In the start of this story the readers are knowledgeable of all of the preparations for a person about to be hanged: the arrange for the hanging, the characters concerned and the surroundings.
The narrator gives an unimaginable and beautiful snapshot of the scene describing the water, the guards, and his restraints. “…Vertical in front of the left shoulder, the hammer rested on the forearm thrown strait across the chest- a formal and unnatural position” (Bierce pg. 90, line 10).
This type of narration is the least private and the reader receives the least info on the character’s ideas and feelings. Although the writer describes particulars, the reader has to fill the blanks as to what actions and occasions lead up to the state of affairs. The cause for this sort of narration in the first section of the story is to get the readers curiosity going. One wonders what Peyton Farquhar could have done to be hanged; was he alone in what he did, why is he concerned in a navy issue when he’s a civilian?
In paragraph six and 7 and thru the second part, the author adjustments his viewpoint to one which is third person omniscient: all knowing. The omniscient narrator is not a personality within the story and is not involved with what occurs. He imposes his presence between the reader and the story and controls all the events. From an outdoor point of view, the narrator provides sufficient information to summarize, interpret and wonder. As the story evolves, the reader begins to read ideas of the characters: Farquhar, his spouse and the troopers. The reader turns into involved in Farquhar’s life because the narrator summarizes his situation. The reader is advised of him being a planter and owning slaves, that he is a secessionist and dedicated to the Southern trigger.
Nevertheless, the narrator leads the reader to consider Farquhar and his spouse are sort people, she fetched the water for the soldier to drink together with her “own white hands” (Bierce pg.ninety two, line 15) instead of ordering one on her coloured slaves to do it. Farquhar’s ideas and devotion towards the south is defined on this part and the reader will get to know who he really is. This makes the reader feel sympathetic in the course of him and his spouse. The objective of the omniscient narrator within the 2nd section is to give data of the characters and to get a glimpse into Farquhars life. The reader finds out how devoted his wife is to her husband. The reader can now relate to Farqhuar and understand how and why he obtained caught attempting to destroy the bridge.
Section three is intended to create suspense. Bierce wants the reader to believe that what’s being described really occurs. In order for the reader to consider that what is being described is definitely occurring, the story should be narrated from the characters perspective (limited omniscient level of view). With a limited omniscient viewpoint, the narrator limits his or her capacity to penetrate the mind of a single character. The reader may be shown the character’s voice, emotions and thoughts via dialogue, monologue or stream of consciousness. As a result, the reader becomes increasingly more immediately involved in interpreting the story.
By utilizing this viewpoint all of what Farquhar is experiencing seems so real. The advantages of the limited omniscient viewpoint are the tightness of focus and management that it provides. If the third section was informed in an omniscient viewpoint, the author would have not been capable of fool the reader, for he would have “seen” what was really taking place. Seeing the whole motion and figuring out the troopers ideas would have given away the ending.
“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” was written in three totally different sections, with each having a unique narrative kind. The first, utilizing dramatic point of view, describes where the motion takes place. The second, omniscient perspective lets the reader comprehend the victim’s thoughts and actions. And finally, the third section, restricted omniscient perspective creates suspense by being only in one mind. With the ability to switch from one form to another, Bierce was capable of create a tale of intrigue, captivation and a twist-ending.