An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
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Due to unspecified reasons, Peyton Fahrquhar has never joined the glorious fight for the Confederacy, but he is a firm secessionist and is ardently devoted to the cause. He is a wealthy Alabama planter with a pretty wife and a passel load of children. When he discovers that the ...more
First published in 1890, this very dark very-short-story classic of death by hanging is loaded with atmosphere and substance.
In just a few pages, this eerie tale tells of a man who loves his wife and children, a man dedicated to the cause during Civil War time, a man who envisions ways to escape the rope around his neck, a man who under dire circumstances doesn't give up hope to return home, a man who can see his wife waiting with open arms......but there's a kicker.
My kind of read. Very E...more
During the U.S. Civil War, Peyton Farquhar, a southern gentleman and a Confederate sympathizer, is being summarily hanged to death on Owl Creek Bridge by Union forces, after trying to sabotage the bridge. Unexpectedly the rope breaks! an ...more
This was way, way ahead of it's time. Bierce was a masterful craftsman of the English language and here captured an idea, a concept that went on to influence scores of writers after him. I always think of the last sight of him, riding "ramrod straight" into Mexico never to be heard from again.
Want, need, to read more of his work, especially because Ray Bradbury seems to have been influenced so much by him.
I can't come close to writing as good of a review as he did, so I won't even try. But I will say that the descriptive prose in this short story is beyond anything I've ever read from the era in which it was written. No wonder people have kept this story alive!
If you've got a few minutes, give it a whirl. It makes for a good little ...more
However, we still maintain our aphorists, though often consider them as comical wits, would do well to remember the skill of indicating truth is with them. There is the poet, Nietzsche, who is also a philosopher and who summed up the goal of the aphorist well: "It is my ambition to say ...more
A short story composed with prose at its best which can be read online at this link:
With his permission I include a link to Jeffrey Keeten’s excellent review because he wrote a good one so why should I bother. ☺ I agree with his suggestion to read the story, then a commentary to catch all the symbolism and metaphor which might be missed, then a second reading.
A link to commentary here:
These sensations were unaccompanied by thought. The intellectual part of his nature was already effaced; he had power only to feel, and the feeling was torment.
In my opinion, it's not just the ending that makes it a spectacular short story, but the nonlinear presentation and internal struggles of our character.
The sardonic view of human nature that informed his work – along with his vehemence as a critic, with his motto "nothing matters" – earned him the ni ...more