Terri Lynn's Reviews > An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce
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's review
Apr 30, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, history

I was just reminded of this excellent story by a Goodreads friend who wrote a review of it. I first read the story in high school then in college and have since taught it at college level.

What would you do if you were about to die and then suddenly -poof!- you were given an unexpected second chance to live and could choose what is dearest to you? Who or what would be dearest to you?

This is set in the 19th century but there have always been people through out history and today as well who have made foolish choices. The subject of our story has made such choices and is just about to pay the ultimate price with his life. At the hanging, the military prepares him, has him on the ledge, and shoves him off.

He is seen, rope and all, falling into the water where he will die. Or will he? He is seen emerging from the water and frantically trying to escape. The will to live of all animals (human and nonhuman) is so strong just as the desire of the soldiers to kill this man is equally strong. Is it right for people to kill others because someone broke human-made rules? Why is it murder if someone kills but not equally murder if the government or the military does so? Either way, they are playing as if they are gods and taking a life they can not then restore.

If this happened to you, where would you run to? Who or what would you want more than anything to see and touch again? For this man, deemed worthy of snuffing the life out of, he chooses what I suspect most of us would choose- home and family. He wants to see his home, his wife, his family.

Will he make it? Did he survive? What will happen to him? You'll have to read and see. Incidentally, a well-done short film of this story was an episode of the original and best Twilight Zone tv program. You will want to see that after reading this.
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02/03 marked as: read

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message 1: by Renee (new)

Renee Cool review, Thanks Terry

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