October 9, 2004

Compassion for Farquhar

Compassion:Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it. This is the main emotion i experienced when reading Ambrose Bierce's , " An Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge.". Here is this man, Peyton Farquhar, who loves his wife, lives a quaint life as a planter in Alabama, but risks his life for his country. When it was being described how calm he wasbefore being hanged, i couldn't help to wonder why. Did this man have such a wonderful life that he had no regrets or no shame to die? Are there really people in life today who are as calm as Farquhar was before his death?

I became very involved and excited when it had appeared that Farquhar had escaped the neck harness and finally had the chance to escape back to his wife. Bierce did a great job of pulling the reader in and gaining their attention. Although i did not catch the "subtle hints" as i read the story the first time, Bierce does implement clues that Farquhar is just hallucinating before dying. Some of these clues include, " --what magnificecnt, what superhuman strenght!" Also , " The man in the water saw the eye of the man on the bridge gazing into his own through the sights of the rifle" - it's wasn't possible for his eye sight to be this good to be able to see his eye. I think his reference to his acute eye sight could also be takin in a different way. often times if someone has a near death experience, afterwards they see the wold in a new , different, and more detailed way. This i think Bierece used to try to trick the reader into thinking this is what happened, not the fact that he was imagining everything.

This whole story represents a dream. In a typical dream everything goes perfectly, just untill the point of highest satisfaction and it all comes tumbling down. Just as Farquhar reaches his wife he is shot, but in reality he was hung and his dream fades away. While reading it , I often felt like i was watching a movie , you know, when you sit there and yell at the screen telling the character to do this or do that, and get readlly excited when they get away?

Bierce used alot of description in the story. Usually i am not a fan of excessive description because i have a short attention span, but here i think Bierce used it wisely. It described every detail that had u more and more interested, and kept wanting to read. I dont think the story would have been as effective without the detailed description, what do others think about this?

Posted by ErinManko at October 9, 2004 2:01 PM

Hey erin,

I really liked this article but I had a different point of view on your dream interpretation of the story. If you want to check out what I thought about the story I referenced your blog in mine entitled "Farquhar's journey home." If you read that maybe we can discuss what you think after you read my point of view.


Posted by: trisha Wehrle at October 10, 2004 10:45 AM
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