“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge ” Questions
1. In Part 1, Bierce includes few details about the condemned man and does not reveal the reason why he is being hanged.
How does this help create suspense?
This helps create suspense because it is the hook that gets you attached to the story. This hooks reels you into the story
and intrigues your mind, because you are curious why this man is going to be hung.
2. In what ways are the condemned man’s perceptions of time and motion distorted as he is waiting to be hanged?
Why are his distorted perceptions important?
They were distorted when he looked down at the river. The author tells us that the river is moving rapidly, however the
man sees the river as slow and smooth. This is not logical according to what the author has already told us. They are important
because it gives us hints that the man is distorted and his mind his not completely clear.
3. What seems to be the narrator’s attitude toward Farquhar in Part II? What is the narrator’s attitude
The author shows Farquhar as a nice, patriotic man, but a man who is not very bright. He shows Farquhar as a man who is
overly confident in his soldier abilities.
4. Considering the outcome of the story, what is ironic or surprising about Farquhar’s longing for the “larger
life of a soldier?” What is ironic about the fact that Farquhar agrees with the saying that “all is fair
in love and war?”
The irony that he wanted to be a soldier is in the fact that he is stupid and he would not make a good soldier. The irony
is that Farquhar was tricked and he was fooled, he was played into going into that trap. He fell for the soldier’s
lie and that lie is what got him killed in the end.
5. What details in Part III suggests that Farquhar’s journey occurs in his mind? How is the journey connected
with the plan of escape that occurs to him moments before he is hanged?
The details are that even with the waves crashing around him he could see that man’s grey eye, he could see
the veins on the leaves, and he could hear the insects crawling around.
6. Explain whether you think the portrayal of Farquhar’s final thoughts and sensations is realistic.
I think that him thinking of his family is very possible and rational. In his position, even last thoughts of escape are
very possible and realistic, but the details do not go along with reality.
7. Point of view refers to the vantage point from which the story is told. Why is the limited third-person point of view
appropriate for this story? How might the story be different if Bierce had used an omniscient third-person narrator?
The third –person point of view is appropriate to keep readers interested in the story. That would affect the
story because we would know what Farquhar was thinking and we would know that the entire escape was a dream.
8. How does Bierce’s use of flashback contribute to the effectiveness of the story?
The flashback tells us the irony of the story and gives us the reason of why is being hanged in the in the first place.