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An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

Ambrose Bierce

Book Overview: 

Set during the American Civil War, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" is the story of Peyton Farquhar, a Confederate sympathizer condemned to death by hanging from Owl Creek Bridge. At the beginning of the story, the protagonist stands bound at the bridge's edge. It is later revealed that after a disguised Union scout enlisted him to attempt to demolish the bridge, he was caught in the act.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .The company faced the bridge, staring stonily, motionless. The sentinels, facing the banks of the stream, might have been statues to adorn the bridge. The captain stood with folded arms, silent, observing the work of his subordinates, but making no sign. Death is a dignitary who when he comes announced is to be received with formal manifestations of respect, even by those most familiar with him. In the code of military etiquette silence and fixity are forms of deference.

The man who was engaged in being hanged was apparently about thirty-five years of age. He was a civilian, if one might judge from his habit, which was that of a planter. His features were good—a straight nose, firm mouth, broad forehead, from which his long, dark hair was combed straight back, falling behind his ears to the collar of his well fitting frock coat. He wore a moustache and pointed beard, but no whiskers; his eyes were large and dark gray, and had a kindly expression w. . . Read More

Community Reviews

In Asia, aphorism is a high art; there, the greatest of poems may be said in one breath. In the West, our greatest poems come in books numbered twelve, and only the greatest of men can remember the length of them.

However, we still maintain our aphorists, though often consider them as comical wits, w

Brilliant short story in three chapters. We read about the hanging of Peyton Farquhar, a rich planter, at Owl Creek Bridge. The American Civil War is going on and Peyton supports the South. A soldier of the Confederate army who plays a dubious role here sets Peyton in motion. The characters and the

”Death is a dignitary who when he comes announced is to be received with formal manifestations of respect, even by those most familiar with him. In the code of military etiquette silence and fixity are forms of deference.”

Due to unspecified reasons, Peyton Fahrquhar has never joined the glorious fig

This is a quick one, but an excellent one, nonetheless. I was very much impressed by the first chapter, which is like a detailed description of some painting, where each piece of the picture reveals something new about the situation. The second chapter is a short flashback. The third is stunning, wi

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