Ambrose Bierce has a special talent of keeping readers alert on their toes and holding their breaths till the very last word. I believe Mr. Bierce wanted to allow others to understand that circumstances and events are not always what they appear to be. The words Mr. Harding expressed and the reality of the situation were two complete opposites. He kept a secret of his wife’s “disappearance” and also picked up everything and left, leaving no signs behind, leading to believe he was very secretive and suspicious. Secrets are kept in every household, things that could kill if it was leaked. I feel like the writer’s purpose was to keep the reader guessing and inferring. This story could also be an account of his life and a cry for help. Mr. Bierce grew up in a troubled family. His two sons died early on and he found out about his wife’s infidelity. This could be his way of plotting revenge on his wife. It is a cry for help because he mentions Mr. Harding disappearing, which is exactly what Bierce did a few years later. The intended audience is for those who enjoy getting goose bumps, those who seek a thrill and love being kept in the dark. It is not however for the uneasy sleeper.
The main theme of this story and connection on a universal level is that in every family, there is a fair share of secrets. Everyone can relate to this one way or another because we all have issues we wished no one would find out. The Harding family as a whole must’ve had a few problems of their own. A family doesn’t just all of a sudden fall apart. It takes time to disintegrate. In the story, like in real life, it shows that there are unhappy couples out there, ones who have stopped loving each other and instead find pleasure in hurting their significant other. The Harding family is just one example of a relationship that is unhealthy, both physically and emotionally.
The author has quite a few tricks up his sleeves to grasp the...