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An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Literary Devices

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Some people say they have dreams that feet like it are real. Make sure that you don’t have any typos. There is always a gap between reality and illusion. That is exactly what Peyton Farquhar did in the short story, “ An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge”, by Ambrose Bierce. Throughout the story, Bierce uses examples of foreshadowing, preternatural plot elements and imagery.

In the short story “An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce.fragment The first thing Bierce uses is foreshadowing throughout this short story. He states “ Keen, poignant agonies [seemes] to shoot from his neck downward through every fiber of his body and limbs. These pains [appears] to flash along well [define] lines of ramifications and a beat with an inconceivably rapid periodicity ”(14). This is a part of foreshadowing. Bierce is dropping hints to the reader that Peyton is feeling completely what a person being hunghanged feels like.

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The next thing he uses is the preternatural plot element. For example in this quote “ His neck [is] in pain and lifting his hand to it found it horribly swollen. He [knows] that it had a circle of black where the rope had [bruise] it. His eyes felt [congest]; he [can] no longer close them ’’ (18). Farquhar does not know his neck is swollen by the rope that he is hanging on. He believes that this happens when he gets loose from it. The author Bierce uses preternatural plot elements to catch the reader's attention. He does this because as a reader they know what's the reader knows what is going ongoing with Peyton's neck and he does not.

Lastly, Bierce makes use of a lot of imagery at the end of his story. “ As he is about to clasp her he feels a stunning blow upon the back of the neck; a blinding white light blazes all about him with a sound like the shock of a cannon - then all is darkness and silence! ” ( Bierce 19). As Peyton is hanging he thinks about all of his thoughts and feelings to the time of his death. Bierce is using tactile, visual, and olfactory imagery in the quote. He uses tactility to show how Peyton Farquhar feels a blow on the back of his neck. He uses visual and olfactory imagery by showing the reader what he sees and what he hears as Farquhar passes.

Throughout the story, Bierce uses examples of foreshadowing, preternatural plot elements and imagery. He uses these techniques throughout the ending of the story to keep his readers guessing. This is why Ambrose Bierce ending comes as a shock. He utilize his technique to come up with that surprising ending.

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An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Literary Devices. (2021, September 22). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from
“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Literary Devices.” Edubirdie, 22 Sept. 2021,
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