An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

By Ambrose Bierce

Overview of the Story

The exposition of the story starts with Peyton Farquhar, he was a farmer and slave owner of Northern Alabama. He was in an old and highly respected family of Alabama. Like other slave owners he was a politician and devoted to the southern cause. The rising actions starts when a spy from the north tells Peyton that he can help the southern cause by burning down a bridge that the union is moving against. When Peyton goes to burn the bridge he is captured and is to be hung from the bridge. He escapes from the bridge and ventures to find his family. The climax is him finding his family but the falling action starts when he touches his wife and dies. He never really saw his wife, It was his life flashing before his eyes before he died from his hanging. I think this story does not have a resolution because it ends with Peyton dyeing in the falling action.


The main conflict of this story is that Peyton Farquhar is going to be hung off of a bridge. All Farquhar wants to do is hold his children again. This is an external conflict because he doesn't want to be hung he just wants to hold his children, but the union caught him trying to burn a bridge down and the penalty is death by hanging.
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Peyton Farquhar is the main character in the story. I think he is indirectly characterized as a caring family man. I think this because when he is going to be hung all he wants to is to hold his wife and kids again. The second character in the story is the Union scout who I think is indirectly characterized as a convincing person because he convinces Farquhar to try and burn the bridge down.


I think that the theme of this story is that if you believe hard enough in something that it will happen. When Farquhar was going to be hung all he wanted was to hold his wife and kids again. He then dreams that the rope breaks and he runs away from the union. He finds his wife but as soon as he touches her he dies.
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Literary Devices

The author Ambrose Pierce, does a very good job with figurative language. An example of this is when Farquhar escapes from being hung during his dream and he is running from the union. The author does a very good job describing what is happening to give me a vivid image in my head of what is going on.

Compelling Aspect of the Story

I think the most compelling aspect of the story is that all Farquhar wanted to do was hold his wife and children again. I think this is very compelling because it shows how much he loves them. The author does a very good job with the language he uses, like how he described the dream Farquhar had and made it seem like he was actually living it.