"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" and Other Civil War Stories

Close Reading Analysis of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge 11th Grade

In the middle of the Civil War in Alabama, Peyton Farquhar, a wealthy farmer, awaits death upon Owl Creek Bridge. With a noose around his neck, Union soldiers watch as the gentleman collects his thoughts in his last moments before he is hanged for accidentally revealing his allegiance to the Confederacy to a Union spy. While reading this short story for the first time, the reader is led to believe that Peyton miraculously escapes and takes pleasure in reading about his long, exhausting journey home to his lovely wife and children. Only in the very last sentences is it revealed that his whole escape was a dream, taking place in the milliseconds between when he is forced off the bridge to when the noose fatally tightens around his neck. This vivid passage quoted below from Ambrose Bierce’s "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" can be found towards the very beginning of the short story. In this paragraph, Peyton becomes aggravated and anxious due to an unknown, irritating sound. This passage contributes to the whole of the piece more than any other paragraph for it establishes mood and tone, character development, and adds to the overall theme of the work.

This paragraph successfully aides in developing the tone and mood of the...

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