November 29, 2004

Presentation 2

I became interested in how Bierce's "An Occurence at Owl Creel Bridge" seems as if it could be written as a drama versus a short story. In determining this observation, I specifically took a closer look at the characterization, conflict, dialogue, and imagery used to tell the story at Owl Creek Bridge.

Characterization- the author's expression of a character's personality through the use of action, dialogue, thought, or commentary by the author or another character.

Within this story, Bierce makes it clear that Farquahr, the main character, is thinking his life through in a matter of a few minutes. During this time, so many thoughts are traveling through Farquahrs mind. The author illistrates characterization when in the story he writes, "He closed his eyes in order to fix his last thoughts upon his wife and children."

Conflict-the stuggle within the story. Character divided against self, character against character, character against society, character against nature, character against God.

The conflict presented in this story is obviously Farquahrs struggle before his death.

The next two literary terms focused on, both are two major reasons on how Bierce's story come to life as a drama.

Dialogue-vocal exchange betweeen two or more characters. One of the ways in which plot, character, and action are developed.

Bierce uses dialogue with Farquahr himself as the main focus throughout this story. Dialogue between other characters also takes place.

Imagery-the collection of images within a literary work. Used to evoke atmosphere, mood, tension.

Bierce uses descriptive vocabularly in this short story to help the viewer actually visualize each scene as its happening. Almost every sentence Bierce uses description. For example, "A rising sheet of water curved over him, fell down upon him, blinded him, strangled him!", and "The black bodies of the trees formed a straight wall on both sides, terminating on the horizon in a point, like a diagram in a lesson in perspective." As a reader, I can clearly see this happening; therefore, such an observation leads me to think that Bierce could have designed this story into drama style.

In terms of drama, dialogue, action, and gesture apply. We seen this style of writing in Belasco's "The Girl form the Golden West". The reader is forced to picture each scene through the intro before each scene begins, and also the dialogue, action and gesture throughout the drama. Of course in Belasco's drama, there is more to go off of, as much as 60 or so pages of drama, versus in Bierce's short story, which has three parts, but less dialogue.

When reacting to a play, it depends on the person's individual perspective of the world, sense of humor, political attitudes, and moral values. In getting any reaction from the reader, I think that Bierce adds a little dramatic irony to this short story. In drama, dramatic irony is defined as the contrast between what the charater thinks the truth is and what the audience knows the truth to be. For example, Farquahr believes he is living and escapes from his enamies, while the reader knows that Farquahr is dying.

Although Bierce presents this short story of an occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge as a "short story", he use aspects of drama, such as setting, characterization, theme, and dramatic irony to help the reader visualize this story.

Posted by ShannaDeFrances at November 29, 2004 11:00 AM


I never really thought of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and The Girl of the Golden West being like one another until I read Shanna DeFrances's paper. After reading her paper I have to agree with her. She makes very valid points. In searching for what a melodrama means Webster’s dictionary gives \Mel`o*dra"ma\, n. [F. m['e]lodrame, fr. Gr. ? song +
? drama.] Formerly, a kind of drama having a musical accompaniment to intensify the effect of certain scenes. Now, a drama abounding in romantic sentiment and agonizing situations, with a musical accompaniment only in parts which are especially thrilling or pathetic. In opera, a passage in which the orchestra plays a somewhat descriptive accompaniment, while the actor speaks; as, the melodrama in the grave digging scene of Beethoven's ``Fidelio''.

Posted by: April Sanavy at December 1, 2004 01:18 PM
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