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An Occurrrence At Owl Creek Br Essay, Research Paper

One evening Farquhar and his wife were near the entrance of there land when a soldier rode up and asked for a drink so Mrs. Farquhar went to get some water. Farquhar approached the dusty horseman and asked for news from the front “the Yanks are repairing the railroad,” said the man. The commander gave an order which states that any civilian caught interfering with the railroad will be hanged. When the soldier left, Farquhar approached the bridge and got caught. Now Farquhar stood upon the railroad bridge. His hands behind his back his wrists tied with a cord. Some loose boards were laid on the railroad tracks for him and his executioners. A soldier stood at each end of the bridge. Between the fort and the bridge were the spectators. The captain stood with folded arms silent. Then he was dropped and his neck broke.

Have you ever been so terrified that you imagine things? Have you ever gone to bed right after you watched a scary movie and start to imagine to hear every little noise in your house? Your heart is racing and every creak you hear is a footstep, every groan is someone (or something) breathing. Fear can distort a persons senses and heighten the imagination. In the short story “An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge”, by Ambrose Bierce, this experience happens to the main character. A good example from literature is the main character in Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart.”

Another literary example where fear distorts a person’s senses and heightens the imagination Allen Poe’s “The Telltale Heart”. The character kills an old man because he is afraid of his ‘vulture eye’.He places the dead body under the floor of the house. The police show up checking up on a call to see if anything was wrong. The mad man leads them around the house showing them nothing is wrong. Then they get to the old man’s bedroom. They start to relax and have a conversation and the mad man starts to hear the dead man’s heart beat (or so he thinks) Eventually he is driven crazy by the noise and shows the police where the body is, while the whole time it was his own heart beating. He was afraid they would find him out, so he imagined his heart beat was the dead man’s.

There are situation’s in literature where fear can distort a person s senses and imagination. In Bierce’s story, the character Payton Farquhar is about to be hanged for attempting to blow up a Union bridge. He is standing on a plank sticking out over the edge of a bridge. Farquhar has a rope around his neck, and as soon as the officer standing on the opposite end steps off, he will be hanged. In the split-second after the officer steps off (before Farquhar is hanged) he imagines the rope breaking off and himself plunging into the river below. He imagines getting the rope off and surfacing for breath. He imagines escaping the line of fire of the marksmen. His fear is so great he imagines this in less than a second.

Even in the books we read we can feel the fear of a character. A soldier stops by his house and tells him what is going on in the war. Peyton is told that the confederates are building a bridge and no one is allowed around it. Peyton leaves after the soldier is gone and goes to the bridge. He is hung and when his life flashes before his eyes he thinks he is still alive. He has so much fear his senses are dulled, he can’t feel the tight rope around his neck. He dreams that he is going to see his wife “Ah, how beautiful she is. He springs forward with arms extended. He is about to clasp her , he feels a stunning blow to the back of his neck.A blinding white light shines all about him, sounding like a cannon burst. Then all is dark and there is silence.” Payton dies. The imagination can be a powerful a lie to dull the pain he felt but what happens when imagination is his enemy.


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