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An Analysis of Suspense and Imagery in an Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce

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The Art of Film Adaptation: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge to La Rivière du hibou

Here are some ways our essay examples library can help you with your assignment: Brainstorm a strong, interesting topic Learn what works and what doesn't from the reader's perspective. What hooks you?

What makes you cringe? Uncover new sources by reviewing other students' references and bibliographies Inspire new perspectives and arguments or counterarguments to address in your own essay Read our Academic Honor Code for more information on how to use and how not to use our library. With the rope around his neck, the reader expects him to die. However, he plunges into a river filled with different kinds of animal images. Instead of dying, the author gives the main character in the story an explosion of life. To heighten and constantly create suspense in the story, the author uses a variation on the gothic tension-release technique.


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He achieves this by giving the reader images that are strange, hopeful, but quiet. He then hits the reader with barrage of bullets and pain and, all of a sudden, the main character is off and swimming or trying to escape. Bierce intentionally employs this tension-release effect in numerous occasions throughout the story in order to maintain suspense prior to the surprising ending. Prior to enhancing the sense of peril and suspense by means of gunfire or sadness, the author takes the reader into a state of tranquil, but strange occurrences take place first.

Free An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Essays and Papers

Instead, the story ends on a sad note with the death of Peyton Farquhar. Bierce, Ambrose. An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.

"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" Ambrose Bierce audio book ― Chilling Tales for Dark Nights

Enfield, N. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

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

Sometimes the author makes the tone very pleasant and dreamy, like every thing is good and ok, when all of the sudden the story is flipped completely, changing the whole outcome of the story. Irony can also be used in a much more subtle way, for example it doesn't change the entire story, it just makes the reader think about what just happened a second time.

Just about the whole story itself is quite ironic. Peyton Farquhar, the main charter, is being hung. In the seconds of dying, he stretches the couple of seconds out into a long-lasting dream. He imagines himself swimming away while dodging bullets, and then he gets into the forest where he must make a long and miserable trip back to his house.


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Just as he is about to reach his wife's arms his neck breaks and he dies, but he didn't die there, he died long ago at the bridge. Bierce makes you truly think that Farquhar has escaped from death, but just as you think you are going to witness a happy ending, you figure out Peyton Farquhar has died at Owl Creek Bridge.

Another example of irony in the short story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" was when the Union solider dressed as a Confederate soldier so easily convinced Farquhar to attempt to burn down the Owl Creek Bridge. All he had to do was mention that the bridge could easily be burnt down from one side.