See... Wordiness isn't SO Bad!

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I enjoyed this An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge mainly because the author, Amrose Bierce, was so vividly descriptive. I get chided all the time for being far too wordy of a writer, but, at least in this story, I feel that it really works. Even in the very beginning of the story when Ambrose describes Farquhar's fall and the aftermath, he goes into such detail: "he was
awakened--ages later, it seemed to him--by the pain of a sharp pressure upon his throat, followed by a sense of suffocation. Keen, poignant agonies seemed to shoot from his neck downward through every fiber of his body and limbs." These words really make the reader feel Farquhar's pain which makes the character far more relateable. I actually felt myself feeling sorry for the guy which is no easy feat considering that I can usually remain emotionally undetached from the stories I read. Bierce's imagery also played a large part in the tenseness I felt when Farquhar was being shot at and had to flee. The author does an excellent job of stirring up the readers' emotions.

The ending of this story truly caught me by surprise. I did not expect the character that the author spent so much time making me care about to just die so abruptly! I think, in a way, that this is the author's way of commenting on war. I agree with Jess Orlowski that this story's message is similar to that of the poem The Man He Killed earlier: war is senseless. By making the reader care so much about a lowly grunt in the war and then ending his life so quickly, Bierce effectively lets the reader see whatever battle that seems totally unrelated to the modern day reader through the eyes of someone who was actually acquainted with Farquhar.

4 Comments

Josie Rush said:

OK, Cody, I wish I'd read your blog *before* I tried to write an entry. Good catch with the possible meaning of the story. I honestly ended and just thought, "......"
For me, the wordiness was something that drove me away from the story. I thought it was a bit too much time telling us that hanging is painful. But, the points you made for Bierce's verbosity are all valid, and make me think that it's just a matter of taste. Or I'm a shamefully lazy reader.

Melissa Schwenk said:

I didn't really get attached to the character through the discriptions, probably because they were so wordy, but I agree they probably were necessary for the story to build up and have a good twist ending. Nice job.

Melissa Schwenk said:

I didn't really get attached to the character through the discriptions, probably because they were so wordy, but I agree they probably were necessary for the story to build up and have a good twist ending. Nice job.

Aja Hannah said:

Wordiness also drove me away from the story. If you look careful, there are hints buried in the wordiness that suggest he didn't survive.

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