Owl Creek

It is said that when you die your life passes before your eyes. A similar situation occurs in the aforementioned story. Even though the man did not see his life passing, he saw himself living on, escaping his captors. During this imaginary journey he notices little things about life. He holds sacred, minute details he might not have paid much attention to during his life. Even though his liveliness is only a product of his imagination, he is grateful to be alive. In the grasp of death he appreciates life.

Death is sometimes considered unthinkable. People do not wish to think of loved ones dying. When someone close to us dies we are over come with sadness. We wish we had more time with them. Their death shows us the importance of that person’s role in our lives. We begin to think of how we will live our lives without them. We think of all the moments we shared with them, they live again in our memories. Perhaps death is considered unthinkable because we fe…

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Perceptions In An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and The Story of an Hour, the authors use similar techniques to create different tones, which in turn illicit very distinct reactions from the reader. Both use a third person narrator with a limited omniscient point of view to tell of a brief, yet significant period of time. In An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Bierce uses this method to create an analytical tone to tell the story of Farquhar's experience just before death. In The Story of an Hour, Chopin uses this method to create an involved, sympathetic tone to relay the story of Mrs. Mallard's experience just before death. These stories can be compared on the basis of their similar points of view and conclusions as well as their different tones. In An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Ambrose Bierce recreates a few brief seconds of time for a man being executed whose cognition of these seconds is perceived as the better part of a full day. All that day he traveled… (paragraph 33). In The Story of an Hour, Kate Chopin relates a meaningful, yet unusual hour of time as the last one lived for a woman who has been given the news of her husband's death in a railroad disaster (paragraph 2). She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment… (paragraph 3). Both stories are centered on the powerful emotions that occur within the minds of the characters as they live out the last moments of their lives. The narrators reveal the most intimate thoughts of each character. In An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Bierce focuses on detail and the dramatic revelation of Farquhar's dying thoughts as he desperately tries to escape the hangmen. This creates a suspenseful journey that seems to see him freed from his noose and carried almost home to the loving arms of his wife. As these thoughts, which have here to be set down in words, were flashed into the doomed man's brain rather than evolved from it… (paragraph 7). This period of time in which we follow along in our minds seems to last through the day. In the end we find that the time was only in Farquhar's head and was really only the last few seconds of his life as he saw it before the rope broke his neck. However, the hanging is not the most significant part of the story because Bierce's third person narrator remains focused on the details of the perceived passing of the time rather than the action. Although the hanging is an action necessary to Farquhar's experience, it remains in the shadows of the story, as we believe he escapes death and are drawn into his head to struggle with him towards home and freedom. This point of view entices the reader more deeply into the episode than would a less knowing point of view. Bierce plays a mind game with the reader that explores an impossible reality. Although it is not conceivable to be inside someone's head to experience his or her thoughts, Bierce's narrator does a commendable job of creating a fictional, yet believable example of this impossibility. Bierce's method allows the reader to become deeply intimate with the details of the profound occurrence of Farquhar's death. He creates a plethora of explicit suffering which contributes to the analytical tone. The reader is almost able to feel his pain as he is tortured by the hanging process. His neck ached horribly; his brain was on fire; his heart…gave a great leap, trying to force itself out at his mouth (paragraph 19). This process of the systematic progression of events from the perceived moment of hanging to the perceived moment of almost achieving freedom creates a fantastic narrative. In The Story of an Hour, Chopin also focuses on the experiences going on inside the character's head, but in realistically measured time. An hour passes while Mrs. Mallard believes she has lost.

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