Bierce, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”

To be honest, this story reminded me of “Bartleby” because I could not finding a meaning within either story when I read them. For this story, I felt a sense that the narrator was trying to make sanity a main theme of the plot. The narrator says he “lost consciousness” and his hearing went off balance and thought “the sounds increased in strength and sharpness” even though it was just his watch ticking. At the end, it says “perhaps he has merely recovered from a delirium”. Peyton, the main character, seems to border on the line of sanity by the way the narrator describes him. The narrator does not seem to sympathize with Peyton, because he makes the reader question Peyton’s actions with the amount of thoughts he has. Also, there is a sense of hope in the story when Peyton keeps coming back to thoughts of his family. When he escapes, he wants to see his family first. However, when he dies at the end, hope is completely destroyed especially when he almost reaches home.

via Bierce, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”.

3 thoughts on “Bierce, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge””

  1. I could be wrong but one of the themes I gathered from “An Occurrence and Owl Creek Bridge” is the notion and nature of time. In the window of time between the officer stepping off the plank and Peyton’s actual death, time slows and changes to accommodate a comforting vision of his safe return to his family. However, despite the manipulation of time you can’t escape reality. The nature of time moves forward no matter what.

  2. When reading this story I thought about how blind Peyton was to the world around him, in sense that they wasn’t really any hope for him but still decided to still make up that dream world for himself imagining that he made it home.

    1. After the in class discussion of the poem, I realized what the poem was actually saying. I was completely confused to what was happening. But after class and reading your post, I agree with you. There was no hope for him because of the predicament he was in, yet he dreamed anyway. I think the fact that the dream was ended right before he reaches his wife shows how little of chance he had; it also showed that he should have no hope.

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