An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is a short story by Ambrose Bierce. The story is set during the American Civil War and tells the story of a man who is about to be executed.
Bierce uses the technique of foreshadowing throughout the story to hint at what is going to happen. For example, he describes the protagonist’s wife as having “a vague and constant fear that something would happen to her husband”. This foreshadows the events of the story, in which the protagonist is indeed executed.
The use of foreshadowing creates a sense of suspense and tension for the reader, as they are constantly guessing at what will happen next. It also makes the story more unpredictable and exciting to read.
By using foreshadowing throughout An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Ambrose Bierce allows readers to get small hints that Peyton Farquhar won’t make it out alive. I personally prefer the more subtle examples of this literary technique because they show the writer’s skill better.
One of the earliest examples of foreshadowing in the story is when Peyton is referred to as “the condemned man.” This is a pretty direct way of telling the reader that things are not going to end well for our protagonist.
However, I much preferred the more subtle instances of foreshadowing that crop up throughout the story. For example, when Peyton attempts to escape and is shot in the back, we get this description: “The blood from his wound had smeared his shirt and jacket with its crimson die, and from time to time he felt faint.” This instance is significant because it foreshadows both Peyton’s impending death and also his eventual hallucination that he has escaped and is home with his family.
Another example of foreshadowing that I enjoyed was when Peyton’s friends and family are described as “phantoms.” This word choice not only foreshadows the hallucination that Peyton experiences at the end of the story, but also emphasizes the distance between him and his loved ones. He is so far removed from them, both physically and emotionally, that they may as well be ghosts to him.
All in all, I thought Ambrose Bierce did a great job of using foreshadowing to give the reader a constant sense of unease and anticipation. It was clear from early on that things were not going to end well for Peyton Farquhar, but the subtlety with which the foreshadowing was done kept me engaged and eager to see how everything would play out.
For example, the reader is given clues about what is to come later in the story through foreshadowing. This technique is done by having Farquhar’s neck being mentioned multiple times throughout the story, such as “His neck ached horribly.” (Paragraph 18) and “his neck was in pain…” (paragraph 35). Even though it isn’t revealed until the end of the story that he never escapes from the bridge, little hints along the way prepared readers for this eventual outcome.
By mentioning his neck, the author is trying to give us a physical foreshadowing of the rope that will eventually be draped around Farquhar’s neck and end his life.
Another example of foreshadowing can be seen through Peyton’s watch. “He drew from beneath the left breast of his shirt a silver watch…”(paragraph 2). This watch becomes a symbol of time running out for our protagonist as the story progresses. The ticking of the watch is mentioned several times in short succession towards the end of the story, culminating in its shattering just before Farquhar is hanged. The breaking of the watch not only symbolizes the end of Farquhar’s time, but also emphasizes how short his life truly was.
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is a short story written by Ambrose Bierce. It is about a man named Peyton Farquhar who is about to be hanged for attempting to destroy a Union railroad bridge during the Civil War. The story is set in northern Alabama in the summer of 1862.
The story is told from Farquhar’s point of view and it employs a technique called “foreshadowing.” This is when the author gives hints or clues about what is going to happen later in the story.
Foreshadowing is one of the more intriguing writing tools available since it compels readers to do a close reading and anticipate the reveal up until the climatic conclusion. Many readers question whether or not Farquhar is dead throughout the book, right up until the last page, because foreshadowing has them on edge.
In “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce, the author uses foreshadowing to great effect.
Bierce first introduces the idea of foreshadowing when Peyton Farquhar is caught by Union soldiers and sentenced to death. The story then goes on to describe the events leading up to his execution. Throughout all of this, there are small hints that things may not be as they seem. For example, when Farquhar is falling from the bridge, he seems to be aware that he is dreaming: “He was too much astounded to cry out…He did not feel like other men feel.” These small details make the reader question what is really happening and whether or not Farquhar is truly going to die.
The climax of the story is when Farquhar finally wakes up from his dream, revealing that he was never actually executed and that the entire story was just a product of his imagination. This twist ending is made all the more effective by the foreshadowing that Bierce has used throughout. Without it, the story would likely not have been as memorable or thought-provoking.
Even the most basic forms of foreshadowing can be a fun tool. The narrator informs us in the first part that, “Peyton] fell…through the bridge he lost consciousness and was as one already dead” (paragraph 17). It is stated that he is already dead right within the text, but it doesn’t matter to the reader, who is interested in Farquhar’s rescue and trip.
The reader does not know that he is going to die, so they continue reading. This example is important to note because even though it is short and simple, it still serves its purpose as foreshadowing. It allows the reader to suspend disbelief and keep them guessing what will happen next, which is one of the key elements in a good short story.
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce is a short story with many examples of foreshadowing. Some are more obvious than others, but all play an important role in the story. In part I, the narrator states that Peyton Farquhar “had long desired to escape” (paragraph 1) from the owl creek bridge where he was about to be hanged. This is a clear example of foreshadowing because it tells the reader that Farquhar will eventually escape, even though at the time of reading, it is not clear how he will do so.
As the story progresses, more and more pieces of information are given that hint at what is to come. In part II, for example, the reader learns that Farquhar has been “galloping hard for some time” (paragraph 6) and that he is “hot and weary” (paragraph 8). This serves as foreshadowing because it suggests that Farquhar’s escape is not going as smoothly as he had planned. He is tired and his horse is tired, which suggests that they will not be able to keep up this pace for much longer.
Similarly, in part III, the reader is told that Farquhar has “been swimming for several hours” (paragraph 15) and that he is “exhausted” (paragraph 16). This again foreshadows the fact that Farquhar is not going to make it very far and that his escape attempt will ultimately be unsuccessful.