An Occurrence at Awl Creek Bridge

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Task : Explain why the author of “Owl Creek Bridge” provides the reader with detailed descriptions of what Peyton Farquar experienced.

In the story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”, author Amrose Bierce wants us to emotionally participate and be involved in the experience of the protagonist by allowing the reader to visualize every detail.

To provide us insight, Bierce uses classic literary elements such as foreshadowing, and imagery. Bierce creates a “slow-motion” narrative that allows the reader to witness a lengthy and descriptive story of a man and the events surrounding his demise. Although the actual time-element is seconds, the drop to his fate is scattered with inner thoughts and intense detail to enthrall the reader making him/her forget the sequence is momentary. During this fatal event, Bierce lets his readers fall into the dreams of Peyton Farquar and as time begins to retard, we become more sympathetic towards his character. The author’s extensive use of imagery provides us with an up-close view of the situation. We are witnessing the observations of Farquhar’s end-of- life experience. Although the backdrop of the story takes only a few seconds, the reader experiences a full spectrum of emotions. All of the main character’s dream sequences are magnified tenfold, for example, the ticking of his watch becomes “a sharp, distinct, metallic percussion like the stroke of a blacksmith’s hammer”.

Within the context of preparation for death, a flash-view of a life lived, dramatic memories coupled with intense feelings, the author achieves his objective to captivate his audience by clever use of vivid detail and the intrigue of a subject curious to all human beings; one’s death. “The end is nigh”
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