October 4, 2004

"Owl Creek" and Christ Figures

Two really interesting sites to check out are Notes/Text on "Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge" and our very own, Linda Fondrk's blog. The former names literary devices, the latter identifies the death motif...check them out and read on for my thoughts

Bierce's "Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge" is a story we studied in our junior year of highschool. However, I never understood the story until this year. This summer, I read a book to refresh my criticism course at Bethany. If anyone is struggling with the symbols or themes in books, I suggest buying "How to Read Literature Like A Professor" by Thomas Foster. It is funny and informative.

The character of Peyton Farquhar and Jesus Christ share many similiarities. Peyton was, "...apparently about thirty-five years of age...if one might judge his habit, which was that of a planter...his features were good--a straight nose, firm mouth, broad forehead, from which his long, dark hair was combed straight back, falling behind his ears to the collar of his well fitting frock. He wore a moustache and pointed beard, but no whiskers; his eyes were large and dark gray, and had a kindly expression which one would hardly have expected in one whose neck was in hemp..." This very detailed description reminded me of the physicality of Christ. Also, Jesus was 33, which is close to 35, at the time of death and Jesus worked as a carpenter, which involves natural materials like a planter uses. Everything about Peyton seems to radiate goodness in this paragraph: even his dying expression. Later the story goes on to say that, "His face had not been covered nor his eyes bandaged." Just like Christ, Farquhar was killed in a cruel manner. These are just a few of the characteristics Farquhar shared with Christ.

Though I was not confident in my first, I researched information about other stories written by Bierce in which the characters were compared to Christ. After reading this, I am convinced Farqhar is Christ-like because of his appearance, his goodness, and his death.

Posted by KatieAikins at October 4, 2004 7:24 PM

That is a very interesting take on the story. I also saw him as a good person deep down inside. I did feel bad for him because he fell for the tricks of the northern soldier. One has to imagine what it must have been like for him to think he would be this big hero and then be led into a trap of that nature. Please come and visit my blog for more.


Posted by: Tiffany at October 5, 2004 6:02 PM

Is heroism a relative term, or is it an ideal that lasts throughout the ageas and across cultures? Bierce isn't exactly sentimental... remember, Farquar is a civilian who falls for a very simple trap.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at October 5, 2004 11:58 PM

I would think that heroism is an ideal that has lasted for centuries on end. It is a theme picked up by many different people. Heroism is a way for writers and film people to tie the readers or viewers to the main character. It makes them feel for what that character is going through. Often times in real life when one is deemed a hero, they have no want for the title. They just did what they thought was right and what would work best for them. For example on September 11th there were many people deemed hero and I listened to a countless number of speeches where the families of fire fighters and police officers that died that day told everyone that they relatives were just doing what they wanted to do and what they believed in. I guess it is a term that is used to help the public believe that there is good out there in the world. You just have to look for it.


Posted by: Tiffany at October 10, 2004 11:05 AM