October 5, 2004

No Thanks to Film Class!

Reading Ambrose Bierce's "An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge" didn't come so much as a surprise for me. Why not you may ask? Because of that darn Art of Film course I took some semesters ago with Dr. Arnzen.

I remember reading this short story some time ago in high school, but it never struck my fancy then. Perhaps it was because it wasn't taught well, I didn't pay attention enough, or none of the above. However, I do remember reading it atleast twice over my time here at Seton Hill. The coolest thing though, since I'm a visual person at times, was that I got to see the award winning short film of the story in my Art of Film class.

Therefore, re-reading through this story for my Lit class didn't exactly do anything for me. I knew what was going to happen even before my eyes met the first word! Unfortunately, the reading through of the short story the umpteenth time through didn't do anything for me either. I was actually more confused reading it then I was actually seeing the film version of the story.

In comparison to the film, the short story seemed very unrealistic. The main character escapes the wrath of the soldiers at the bridge and begins his escape. Described in words it seems almost impossible for this man to dodge bullets and fired weapons. However, in the film you see the soldiers shooting at him then the shot cuts to him swimming. It almost seems believable that a man can withstand missing so many bullets. Another thing I favored more from the film in comparison to the text was the final scene with the man about to embrace his wife. To a person seeing/reading this for the first time they may feel relieved. He finally reached home, he is safe, he is reaching for his wife. However, the film seems to capture the man's last seconds just a little better than the plain words on paper. The film shows the emotions, the longing, the reach, the snap of his neck within the rope at Owl Creek Bridge. You are left stunned, surprised, shocked....even if you have already read the book.

Overall, I didn't particularly care for the Lit class reading of "An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge" and I think its because I saw the film and it tainted my image of how the story really went.

Posted by ReneeDeFloria at October 5, 2004 9:34 PM

Imagine that you didn't see the film...could your imagination have done the filling in? Do you think you would have gotten more from "Owl Creek" if you hadn't seen the film?


Posted by: Katie Lambert at October 7, 2004 1:09 PM

Hey Katie...
Actually, I don't think my interpretation of the story would have been different if I had NOT seen the film.

I don't recall when, but I do believe we read this short story back in the day in HS. Whether or not I remember the outcome of the story from reading it back then...is totally beyond me. I couldn't tell ya.


I DID know the main character died in the end therefore totally ruining any reading interpretation I may have had from this class...

Did I make any sense??? :-P

Posted by: Rowdy at October 7, 2004 5:36 PM