So thoughts on "An Occurence at Owl Creek bridge."
Let's get it out of the way that I thought the ending was cool, but by this time in history, that kind of ending has been done before...
Getting to the text:
"He was not conscious of an effort, but a sharp pain in his wrist apprised him that he was trying to free his hands. He gave the struggle his attention, as an idler might observe the feat of a juggler, without interest in the outcome. What splendid effort!- what magnificent, what superhuman strength" (Bierce).
Then, a little later:
"He looked at the forest on the bank of the stream, saw the individual trees, the leaves and the veining of each leaf- he saw the very insects upon them..." (Bierce).
I love these two little excerpts. What Bierce does a great job of is giving the reader a deep look into the psychological changes in Farquhar after he (imagines) hits the water. In the first quotation, we see his out-of-body mind, his idle realization that his body is physically trying to escape the binds that hold him. In the next quotation, Bierce does a good job of showing Farquhar's huge adrenaline rush of a single moment in which he sees everything, every tiny detail.
Very good writing.
As for "The Yellow Wallpaper"
"If a physician of high standing, and one's own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression- a slight hysterical tendency- what is one to do?... Personally, I disagree with their ideas. Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good" (Perkins).
The cool thing about this story is that it relates back to a lot of what we've talked about in How to Read Like a Professor. Things like reading this from the author's perspective or from the educated community's perspective of the publishing time period... I remember reading this for a class last year. Perkin's herself suffered from mental problems, and the treatment in "The Yellow Wallpaper" is the same kind of treatment she was given for her mental disorder. She was completely and totally against it, and didn't believe in its theraputic effects. She wrote this story as a response against the psychological views of the time period, as a way of waking up doctors, scientists, and regular people.