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An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge research paper due and don’t know how to start it? How about like this?

Ambrose Bierce illustrates effectively how to hold the reader’s attention through suspenseful narration in the short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”.  Through descriptive adjectives, detail of events, the structure of the story and inviting the reader into the personal thoughts and life of Peyton Farquhar, Bierce draws out one of the most suspenseful narratives of his time.

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” begins by capturing the readers attention with the shocking revelation that a man is to be hanged on Owl Creek Bridge.  The reader does not know why or who the convicted man is, but immediately curiosity is peeked by such a brutal occurrence.  The only insight into the accused is that he has kind eyes and is a common farmer.  In section two, the reader is told the full name of the accused and the reasons why he is to be hanged.  Sympathies are aroused as the reader learns the intimate details of the hanged man’s life, his motives for his offense, and how he was tricked into being caught.  The final section illustrates the death struggle that the hanged man goes through and the events that take place in his mind, as he imagines escape and peaceful return to his home.  Suspense is maintained by the effective structure of the narrative of the occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.

Another tool Bierce uses to draw the reader’s attention into the story is detailed description of the atmosphere, setting, and characters in the first section of the story.  By using descriptive adjectives, Bierce paints a vivid picture of the scene, the soldiers, the hanged man, and every detail around Owl Creek Bridge.  For example, Bierce describes the soldiers on the bridge in the company “staring stonily, motionless”.  The details describing the ticking of the soon to be hanged man’s watch as “a sharp, distinct, metallic percussion like the stoke of a blacksmith’s hammer upon an anvil”.  Such use of description makes the reader feel a part of the action and intense suspense of the story.

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