Matter of Life and Death

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Matter of Life and Death

Ambrose Bierce's short story An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge tells a story during the American Civil War. Peyton Farquhar, passionate supporter of the South, would be hanged at the Owl Creek Bridge by the Federal army for attempting to damage the bridge to avoid the advance of the northern troops. First of all, the style of Bierce's writing makes it difficult to follow. However, his sequence of writing and characterization successfully catches the reader's attention. The reader is led to believe he escapes under unbelievable circumstances, it is revealed at the end of the story that Farquhar imagined his escape just before his death. In all reality this whole scenario was a construct of his imagination in between the time he was dropped from the bridge to the moment he died. Second of all, during this imaginary journey he notices little things about life. Little details he might not have paid much attention to during his life. Even though it was imaginary, he was grateful to be alive. Maybe he was not that good father and husband to his family because the first thing he thought was his wife and children. In his fantasy, he imagines going back home and live happily ever after. He probably did regret for some things that he did not do before all that drama happened. Finally, the writer probably wanted to give a lesson with this story especially in where he imagines escaping. People often do not appreciate what they have while they are healthy, but when the danger faces with them, they realize that they might have been happier with less.
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