An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
The condemned man stands on a bridge, his hands bound behind his back. A noose is tied around his neck. In a moment he will meet his fate: DEATH BY HANGING. There is no escape. Or is there? Find out in . . . An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Details

TitleAn Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 28th, 1996
PublisherSt. Petersburg
ISBN-139780874068139
Rating
GenreShort Stories, Classics, Fiction, Horror, Historical, Historical Fiction, Literature, 19th Century, Academic, School, War, American

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Review

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    January 1, 1970
    ”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 fight for the Confederacy, but he is a firm secessionist and is ardently devoted to the cause. He is a wealthy Alabama planter with a pretty wife and a passel load of children. When he discovers that 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 fight for the Confederacy, but he is a firm secessionist and is ardently devoted to the cause. He is a wealthy Alabama planter with a pretty wife and a passel load of children. When he discovers that the bridge at Owl Creek has been rebuilt by the invading army of the Union, he decides this is his chance to do something for the Southern cause. His eyes are bespeckled by the splendorous beacon of glory. In other words, he is blinded by his vision of his own future achievement. Many times there is a razor thin line between success and failure. We are not privy to how close to being successful our gentleman of mayhem was to destroying the bridge, but we do know that his illusion of glory has ended in an inglorious, frankly embarrassing, reality. He is about to be hung. At moments like this something happens to our senses. I remember when I had my Jeep accident. I was flipping over and over. Sounds were amplified. The crunch of steel was like a Wagner crescendo. The sound of breaking glass was like shrieking sirens. Everything slowed down to where I could watch individual pieces of glass moving so slowly that I could have caught them with a pair of chopsticks. I was NEO.For Fahrquhar, it is his watch, ticking so loud that to his ears it sounds like iron being molded by a hammer on an anvil. Everything seems brighter and more significant. He is standing on the bridge he had meant to destroy. His life is literally hanging in the balance, about to be dispatched by this inanimate object’s ability to suspend his weight long enough for his life to be taken from him. ”As to his head, he was conscious of nothing but a feeling of fullness -- of congestion. These sensations were unaccompanied by thought. The intellectual part of his nature was already effaced; he had power only to feel, and feeling was torment. He was conscious of motion. Encompassed in a luminous cloud, of which he was now merely the fiery heart, without material substance, he swung through unthinkable arcs of oscillation, like a vast pendulum.”Any time the word pendulum is used in a story I can’t help but think of Poe. ”I now observed, with what horror it is needless to say, that its nether extremity was formed of a crescent of glittering steel, about a foot in length from horn to horn; the horns upward, and the under edge evidently as keen as that of a razor. Like a razor also it seemed massy and heavy, tapering from the edge into a solid and broad structure above. It was appended to a weighty rod of brass, and the whole hissed as it swung through the air.” Edgar Allan Poe The Pit and the PendulumThere are some very clever twists, and the author, Ambrose “Bitter” Bierce, leaves you a few breadcrumbs along the way. He was known for his sardonic view of human nature. Whenever I read a Bierce story, which it has been way too long since I’ve read the last one, I come away feeling that he is speaking from personal experience. The hanging scene in this story, you would swear the man has been dangling from a rope at some point in time in his history. His stories are dark and feel so real that I have to slap myself across the face periodically to make sure I don’t find myself trapped in a world of Bierce’s making. Bierce, in typical Bierce fashion, heads down to Mexico and is never heard of again. He is gone like smoke caught in a Western wind. I would recommend reading this story without commentary and then reading it a second time with analysis because Bierce has layered in some symbolism into the story. He then camouflaged these metaphors with leaves and broken branches. If you move your head too fast your eyes will just skim right over the top of them. You can see ‘em, but you have to be looking right at ‘em. Highly Recommended! If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.comI also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten
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  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    January 1, 1970
    What a genius story! I read four classic short stories back to back one night in a "great short stories" reading binge, and this one was by far my favorite of the four. (They were all online freebies; there's a good link for this one below.) This is a memorable tale that has stuck with me. During the U.S. Civil War, Peyton Farquhar, a southern gentleman and a Confederate sympathizer, is being summarily hanged to death on Owl Creek Bridge by Union forces, after trying to sabotage the bridge. Unex What a genius story! I read four classic short stories back to back one night in a "great short stories" reading binge, and this one was by far my favorite of the four. (They were all online freebies; there's a good link for this one below.) This is a memorable tale that has stuck with me. During the U.S. Civil War, Peyton Farquhar, a southern gentleman and a Confederate sympathizer, is being summarily hanged to death on Owl Creek Bridge by Union forces, after trying to sabotage the bridge. Unexpectedly the rope breaks! and he's off on a desperate swim and run, trying to evade recapture. This is a well-known story and short film, and if you haven't read it yet you really need to do that before reading many reviews, because spoilers are almost impossible to avoid and you really don't want to be spoiled if you don't know the ending yet. After you've read it once, I strongly recommend that you reread it, to see how many clues Bierce gives you (view spoiler)[about what's really happening: Farquhar's feeling like he's swinging on a pendulum, the dreamy yet oddly vivid and detailed imagery of his escape, and the physical details -- like his swollen tongue and eyes -- that indicate what is actually happening to Farquhar's physical body while he hallucinates (hide spoiler)]. I was completely fascinated by the dual nature of Bierce's storytelling.It's free online many places, including here at www.ambrosebierce.org. Read this unannotated version here, and then read the annotated version here right after that (you have to browse through or skip some notes, a bibliography, and another unannotated version of the story first). The annotated version has a truly fantastic section-by-section analysis and compilation of critical commentary that gave me a lot of additional insights.Here's some of the most interesting analysis that I saw there, if you're interested in a deeper dive. The biggest spoilers are tagged, but proceed at your own risk:Part I: • Notice that this first part of the story is told in clear, concise, abrupt sentences, fitting the military setting and the summary punishment being dealt out here. • Some of the narrator's language describing Farquhar is a little sardonic (e.g., "Evidently this was no vulgar assassin."), perhaps indicating that the narrator doesn't really view Farquhar as much of a gentleman or as particularly intelligent. • As the point of view slips into Farquhar's inner perceptions, notice how the language changes to become more emotional and unreal.• Notice how the ticking of his watch seems "as slow as the tolling of a death knell." His subjective view of time is stretching(view spoiler)[, a hint that the time that his later escape seems to take may be much longer than the time that's actually passing (hide spoiler)].Part II:• This part flashes back to describe what happened before the scene at the bridge. Reading it carefully, you can see some more suggestions -- often using ironic language -- that Farquhar isn't quite the hero or gentleman that he might at first seem: he's a slave owner (which is his primary reason for supporting the Confederacy, not more noble feelings like patriotism), he somehow avoided military service, he "in good faith and without too much qualification assented to at least a part of the frankly villainous dictum that all is fair in love and war."• Note the twist at the end of this section(view spoiler)[, foreshadowing the later twist at the end of the story (hide spoiler)].Part III:• As Farquhar fell, he felt like "he swung through unthinkable arcs of oscillation, like a vast pendulum." (view spoiler)[Of course he actually is swinging from the rope that's hanging him. (hide spoiler)]• He feels himself rising to the surface of the river (view spoiler)[but it's probably just the jerk and lift as he hits the end of the rope and bounces upward (hide spoiler)].• All of the strangely clear details Farquhar notices are a hint (view spoiler)[that he's hallucinating. (hide spoiler)]• Somehow he sees, through a rifle scope, a shooter's grey eye staring at him. Since he himself has grey eyes, this implies that he's subconsciously seeing himself(view spoiler)[, and that he himself caused his own death (hide spoiler)].• As he walks through the night toward his home, his neck is in terrible pain, his eyes are congested and can no longer close, his tongue is swollen and sticking out, he can't even feel the road beneath his feet...Such a fantastic, sneaky story.
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  • Stephen
    January 1, 1970
    A nondescript locale…an ordinary man…a simple hanging... A crime of entrapment…a law upheld…a punishment rendered… A life cut short...fear...regret...despair... AN OCCURRENCE…A miracle...a broken rope...a death forestalled...hope renewed... A fate escape…a second change…LIFE... Thoughts of home...of love...of family...joy returns... A difficult journey…a struggle worthwhile...a blissful reunion… AN OCCURRENCE…(view spoiler)[A flash of pain…a reckoning…fate repaid…understand A nondescript locale…an ordinary man…a simple hanging... A crime of entrapment…a law upheld…a punishment rendered… A life cut short...fear...regret...despair... AN OCCURRENCE…A miracle...a broken rope...a death forestalled...hope renewed... A fate escape…a second change…LIFE... Thoughts of home...of love...of family...joy returns... A difficult journey…a struggle worthwhile...a blissful reunion… AN OCCURRENCE…(view spoiler)[A flash of pain…a reckoning…fate repaid…understanding dawns… (hide spoiler)]Turn the page… FINAL THOUGHTS A work of extraordinary precision, subtlety and grace. Bierce manages to encapsulate the whole gamut of human existence in a scant 20 pages. 4.5 stars. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION.
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  • Beverly
    January 1, 1970
    I read this in high school and fell in love with it. A masterpiece of the short story form, it is perfect, each word leads to the devastating conclusion. And still you are shocked!
  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    Oh My!First published in 1890, this very dark very-short-story classic of death by hanging is loaded with atmosphere and substance.In just a few pages, this eerie tale tells of a man who loves his wife and children, a man dedicated to the cause during Civil War time, a man who envisions ways to escape the rope around his neck, a man who under dire circumstances doesn't give up hope to return home, a man who can see his wife waiting with open arms......but there's a kicker.My kind of read. Very E Oh My!First published in 1890, this very dark very-short-story classic of death by hanging is loaded with atmosphere and substance.In just a few pages, this eerie tale tells of a man who loves his wife and children, a man dedicated to the cause during Civil War time, a man who envisions ways to escape the rope around his neck, a man who under dire circumstances doesn't give up hope to return home, a man who can see his wife waiting with open arms......but there's a kicker.My kind of read. Very Edgar Allan Poe-ish. Excellent!
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  • Lyn
    January 1, 1970
    Fabulously imaginative and creepy. This was way, way ahead of it's time. Bierce was a masterful craftsman of the English language and here captured an idea, a concept that went on to influence scores of writers after him. I always think of the last sight of him, riding "ramrod straight" into Mexico never to be heard from again. Want, need, to read more of his work, especially because Ray Bradbury seems to have been influenced so much by him. Fabulously imaginative and creepy. This was way, way ahead of it's time. Bierce was a masterful craftsman of the English language and here captured an idea, a concept that went on to influence scores of writers after him. I always think of the last sight of him, riding "ramrod straight" into Mexico never to be heard from again. Want, need, to read more of his work, especially because Ray Bradbury seems to have been influenced so much by him.
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  • kohey
    January 1, 1970
    This story amazed me till the very end with beautiful and true-to-life descriptions. It is almost for me an one-breath reading.
  • Rebbie
    January 1, 1970
    You can read this tiny short story for free online, which is what I did as soon as I read Jeffrey's amazing review. Here it is:https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...I can't come close to writing as good of a review as he did, so I won't even try. But I will say that the descriptive prose in this short story is beyond anything I've ever read from the era in which it was written. No wonder people have kept this story alive! If you've got a few minutes, give it a whirl. It makes for a good little You can read this tiny short story for free online, which is what I did as soon as I read Jeffrey's amazing review. Here it is:https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...I can't come close to writing as good of a review as he did, so I won't even try. But I will say that the descriptive prose in this short story is beyond anything I've ever read from the era in which it was written. No wonder people have kept this story alive! If you've got a few minutes, give it a whirl. It makes for a good little Poe-esque tale.
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  • Leonard Gaya
    January 1, 1970
    This is a quick one, but an excellent one nonetheless. I was very much impressed by the first chapter, which is like a minute 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 absolutely stunning with luxuriant depictions of sounds, visuals and bodily sensations. What comes at the end is an utter surprise. Gripping.
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  • J.G. Keely
    January 1, 1970
    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, would do well to remember the skill of indicating truth is with them. There is the poet, Nietzsche, who is also a philosopher and who summed up the goal of the aphorist well: "It is my ambition to say 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, would do well to remember the skill of indicating truth is with them. There is the poet, Nietzsche, who is also a philosopher and who summed up the goal of the aphorist well: "It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what everyone else says in a whole book — what everyone else does not say in a whole book."There is the politician, Disraeli, who found that ruling men meant understanding a plural and remarkable simplicity. There is the self-concerned wit Wilde, who told us that genius lies in misunderstanding and is so widely and unknowingly quoted that it is a cliche.Speak what you will of Twain, but Bierce is America's entrant into the minute art. For his part, Vonnegut considered 'The Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge' to be the single greatest short story of all Americans, and suggested anyone who hadn't read it was a 'twerp'.The man who copies the Psalms onto a grain of rice has condensed space, but the author who places the depth of a novel into a short story has condensed meaning. The utterly deliberate and unfettered Owl Creek is a definitively superior work, for the same reason that the man who strikes the bull's eye with his arrow by chance is never the equal to the one that may do so at his leisure.There is also an old French film which makes an excellent adaptation of this work, and which was once featured on the Twilight Zone, if that lends any notion of its quality.
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  • Cathrine ☯️
    January 1, 1970
    4.5★A short story composed with prose at its best which can be read online at this link:http://compositionawebb.pbworks.com/f...With his permission I include a link to Jeffrey Keeten’s excellent review because he wrote a good one so why should I bother. ☺︎ I agree with his suggestion to read the story, then a commentary to catch all the symbolism and metaphor which might be missed, then a second reading.https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...Further pursuits:A link to commentary here:http://www 4.5★A short story composed with prose at its best which can be read online at this link:http://compositionawebb.pbworks.com/f...With his permission I include a link to Jeffrey Keeten’s excellent review because he wrote a good one so why should I bother. ☺︎ I agree with his suggestion to read the story, then a commentary to catch all the symbolism and metaphor which might be missed, then a second reading.https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...Further pursuits:A link to commentary here:http://www.sparknotes.com/short-stori... Watch the 24 minute 1929 silent film version The Bridge here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHqnS...Watch a Twilight Zone film version titled Spur Of The Moment/An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge if you are a Hulu subscriber. It's the same movie as in the link above but with a Rod Serling introduction.A link to a listing of films inspired by the story here:http://cineleet.com/2008/03/23/when-t...
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  • Sr3yas
    January 1, 1970
    Apparently, your life doesn't flash before you as you die. These sensations were unaccompanied by thought. The intellectual part of his nature was already effaced; he had power only to feel, and the feeling was torment. In my opinion, it's not just the ending that makes it a spectacular short story, but the nonlinear presentation and internal struggles of our character. Apparently, your life doesn't flash before you as you die. These sensations were unaccompanied by thought. The intellectual part of his nature was already effaced; he had power only to feel, and the feeling was torment. In my opinion, it's not just the ending that makes it a spectacular short story, but the nonlinear presentation and internal struggles of our character.
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  • David Schaafsma
    January 1, 1970
    A man is going to be hanged at Owl Creek Bridge in Ambrose Bierce's 1891 short story, which still manages to shock. You can find it online in many places, but here's a pdf of it:https://loa-shared.s3.amazonaws.com/s...The stark black and white original 1962 film can be seen here:http://mustseecinema.com/an-occurrenc...I can tell you almost nothing about it or the story would be ruined, but the humanity in this psychological horror story is rendered through the condemned man's desire to get home A man is going to be hanged at Owl Creek Bridge in Ambrose Bierce's 1891 short story, which still manages to shock. You can find it online in many places, but here's a pdf of it:https://loa-shared.s3.amazonaws.com/s...The stark black and white original 1962 film can be seen here:http://mustseecinema.com/an-occurrenc...I can tell you almost nothing about it or the story would be ruined, but the humanity in this psychological horror story is rendered through the condemned man's desire to get home to his wife and family at any cost. An adventure ensues! Well worth a few minutes of your time. Especially if you are stuck at home and have fantasies of escape!
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  • Peter
    January 1, 1970
    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 plot are classic and extremely well done. From every perspective you feel like being part of the narration. The description of the surrounding is incredible. Does Peyton survive the hanging and its af 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 plot are classic and extremely well done. From every perspective you feel like being part of the narration. The description of the surrounding is incredible. Does Peyton survive the hanging and its aftermath? Do some bullets of the Yankee army find their target? An absolutely must read, a modern classic!
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  • Duane
    January 1, 1970
    Published in 1890, this is considered by many to be one of America's greatest short stories. Hemingway used it as inspiration for his The Snows of Kilimanjaro. It easy to see the similarities but I prefer Bierce's story. It's superbly written and packs a punch for the ending. Published in 1890, this is considered by many to be one of America's greatest short stories. Hemingway used it as inspiration for his The Snows of Kilimanjaro. It easy to see the similarities but I prefer Bierce's story. It's superbly written and packs a punch for the ending.
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  • Fabian {Councillor}
    January 1, 1970
    Short stories usually don't offer enough scope for development of characters, plot and atmosphere due to their limited length, so, in the majority of cases, they have to be pretty well-written in order to convince me of their literary significance and basic factors which may help me keep the story in mind."An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge" was extremely well-written. Upon first reading the story, it was mostly the atmosphere of the writing and the plot's main features which attracted my atte Short stories usually don't offer enough scope for development of characters, plot and atmosphere due to their limited length, so, in the majority of cases, they have to be pretty well-written in order to convince me of their literary significance and basic factors which may help me keep the story in mind."An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge" was extremely well-written. Upon first reading the story, it was mostly the atmosphere of the writing and the plot's main features which attracted my attention, but I didn't quite understand everything which was outlined during the short extent of the story. The cleverly devised and well-thought-out tale, divided into three parts as a structural device, is mostly revealed by rereading it, for Ambrose Bierce successfully tampers with his reader's expectations, exploring his protagonist's mind and developing an interesting background with roots in the American Civil War.To me, Bierce's short story - the first, but certainly not the last work I've read from this author - will be remembered as being outstanding and thought-provoking, and thus I can with clear conscience recommend reading it if you're prepared for a fast, but not ordinary short story with connections to the American history. "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." Thanks to KOHEY.Y for bringing this fine work to my attention.
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  • Trish
    January 1, 1970
    Ambrose Bierce is a name known to many. This most famous work, no doubt, is The Devil's Dictionary. He is known for having had a sardonic view of humans and their nature and for having a "nothing matters" attitude. In short: he must have been quite a bitter person. In 1913, he supposedly traveled to Mexico to gain a firsthand perspective on the country's ongoing revolution, but disappeared without a trace in December of the same year.This short story is an interesting one, considering the author Ambrose Bierce is a name known to many. This most famous work, no doubt, is The Devil's Dictionary. He is known for having had a sardonic view of humans and their nature and for having a "nothing matters" attitude. In short: he must have been quite a bitter person. In 1913, he supposedly traveled to Mexico to gain a firsthand perspective on the country's ongoing revolution, but disappeared without a trace in December of the same year.This short story is an interesting one, considering the author. It's about a plantation owner of the American South during the war. The story starts with him getting hanged - apparently for sabotaging a bridge so the Northern soldiers couldn't use it. The author then goes on to explain different sensations of dying, and describing the nature around Owl Creek Bridge and even how the hanged man came to have the idea of sabotaging the bridge in the first place.The strength of the writing definitely lies with the vivid descriptions. Funnily enough, if one looks closely, the author actually did give both the hanged man and the soldiers hanging him not too good a characterisation.It's well written, with a sort of romanticism about the place but not the people, again making the point of how pointless human actions actually are. I would call this an American classic even, an example of the time it was written in and the period it was about.
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  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    January 1, 1970
    An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Ambrose BierceAn Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (1890) is a short story, by the American writer and Civil War veteran Ambrose Bierce. Peyton Farquhar, a civilian and plantation owner, is being prepared for execution by hanging from an Alabama railroad bridge during the American Civil War. Six military men and a company of infantrymen are present, guarding the bridge and carrying out the sentence. Farquhar thinks of his wife and children and is then distracted b An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Ambrose BierceAn Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (1890) is a short story, by the American writer and Civil War veteran Ambrose Bierce. Peyton Farquhar, a civilian and plantation owner, is being prepared for execution by hanging from an Alabama railroad bridge during the American Civil War. Six military men and a company of infantrymen are present, guarding the bridge and carrying out the sentence. Farquhar thinks of his wife and children and is then distracted by a noise that, to him, sounds like an unbearably loud clanging; it is actually the ticking of his watch. He considers the possibility of jumping off the bridge and swimming to safety if he can free his tied hands, but the soldiers drop him from the bridge before he can act on the idea. ...تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز سی ام ماه ژانویه سال 2016 میلادیعنوان: حادثه‌ ای در پل اوئل کریک؛ نویسنده: آمبروس بی یرس؛نقل از متن داستان: «مردی روی پل آلابامای شمالی ایستاده، به آبی که بیست پا پایین‌تر به تندی جریان داشت، می‌نگریست. دست‌های او را از پشت با ریسمانی بسته بودند و حلقه سست طنابی گردن او را در میان گرفته بود، که از صلیب چوبی بزرگی در بالای سرش آویزان بود و دنبالهی آن تا زانوان مرد امتداد داشت چند تخته لق از تخته‌های زیر ریل‌ها که روی راه‌آهن گذاشته بودند جا پایی شده بود برای محکوم و اعدام‌ کنندگانش که عبارتند از دو سرباز ویژه ارتش فدرال و فرماندهی که امکان داشت سابقاً معاون کلانتر بوده باشد؛ به فاصله کمی از آن‌ها بر روی همان سکوی موقتی، افسری مسلح، که درجه سروانی داشت، در لباس نظامیش دیده می‌شد؛ در هر انتهای پل نگهبانی با تفنگش به حالتی که به آن «آماده باش» می‌گویند، ایستاده بود، یعنی تفنگ عمودی در مقابل شانه چپ، چخماق آن بر ساعد و ساعد بر روی سینه، حالت رسمی و غیرطبیعی که بدن را به حالت افراشته نگاه می‌دارد. ظاهراً وظیفه این دو مرد نبود که بدانند در وسط پل چه می‌گذرد با آن‌ها صرفاً دو انتهای تخته پاره‌ای را که تبدیل به جا پا شده بود، مسدود کرده بودند؛ در آن سوی ساحل کسی دیده نمی‌شد و راه‌آهن صد یارد مستقیم در جنگل پیش می‌رفت، بعد کج شده، از نظر ناپدید می‌گشت؛ بی‌شک کمی دورتر بر مسیر راه‌آهن؛ پاسگاهی قرار داشت. ساحل دیگر رود محوطه بازی بود و بر فراز شیب ملایم آن، به وسیله چند تنه درخت مانعی ایجاد کرده بودند که در آن‌ها سوراخ‌هایی برای لوله تفنگ تعبیه شده و لوله توپی که بر پل مسلط بود، از تنها مزغل آن بیرون زده بود. بین پل و این مانع، تماشاگران ایستاده بودند؛ عده‌ای سرباز پیاده در صف به حالت راحت‌باش نوک تفنگ‌ها بر زمین، لوله‌هایشان متمایل به عقب در مقابل شانه راست و دست‌ها صلیب‌وار بر قنداق؛ ستوانی در طرف راست صف ایستاده بود، نوک شمشیرش بر زمین و دست چپ او بر روی دست راستش، به استثنای گروه چهار نفری وسط پل، هیچکدام کوچکترین حرکتی نمیکردند؛ دسته، بی‌حرکت، چون سنگ روبه‌روی پل ایستاده، به صحنه اعدام چشم دوخته بودند؛ نگهبانان رو به دو ساحل رود مانند مجسمه‌ هایی بودند که برای زینت پل قرار داده شده‌ اند؛ ستوان دست به سینه، ساکت ایستاده، کار زیر دستانش را نگاه می‌کرد، ولی کاری انجام نمی‌داد؛ مرگ رویدادی شکوهمند است که وقتی با اطلاع قبلی برای انسان رخ می‌دهد باید با ادای احترامات رسمی استقبال شود، حتی به وسیله آن‌هایی که با آن خیلی آشنا هستند در آداب نظامی سکوت و بی‌حرکت بودن نشانه‌ های احترام هستند...؛»؛ پایان نقل ا. شربیانی
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  • Sam
    January 1, 1970
    20 minutes of exhilarating narration that left me saying I knew it but I doubted myself until the very end. That’s successful writing in my opinion. American Civil War fiction usually doesn’t interest me, but I really liked this.
  • Katy
    January 1, 1970
    A short but exquisitely written story. A truly great American adventure that takes place during the Civil War era. A lovely and lively distortion of reality...or is it?This is really a must read.
  • Dean
    January 1, 1970
    I owe much gratitude to Tracey, my reading buddy!!Because she has recommended this literary gem to me..It was an exceptional and quick reading, but a story which has hit the innermost parts of my being..I will be pondering over for a long time!"A occurrence at Owl Creek" has left me trembling and shaken..This is one of the rare stories which you must have read at least once in a life time!!Ambrose Bierce describes the execution of a man during the American Civil War..And he does it so powerful, I owe much gratitude to Tracey, my reading buddy!!Because she has recommended this literary gem to me..It was an exceptional and quick reading, but a story which has hit the innermost parts of my being..I will be pondering over for a long time!"A occurrence at Owl Creek" has left me trembling and shaken..This is one of the rare stories which you must have read at least once in a life time!!Ambrose Bierce describes the execution of a man during the American Civil War..And he does it so powerful, with such colorful prose, that you will be forced to experience and even feel the sufferings and impressions that the victim goes through..And let me say it loud and clearly, you will be sweep away by these powerful and magnificient stream of faces, sounds, colors and voices!!Put it in another way, this is the last silent and desperate cry by a dying consciousness!!The reader will be a witness to the preciousness of life itself, and the doomed power of our unfortunates decisions..And by the way, the end is so unexpected, that it will blow you away!!Full Five stars ahead..Happy reading!!Dean;)
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  • Thomas
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you, Goodreads friends, for accepting me even when my opinions contrast with the majority. I appreciated the visceral quality of Ambrose Pierce's writing in "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge". However, I felt that the story's main conceit undermined its brilliance. While others say Pierce manipulates time and reality in how he crafts this story, I felt underwhelmed and unamused. Perhaps I prefer short stories with more emphasis on characterization, and in that case, my disappointment fall Thank you, Goodreads friends, for accepting me even when my opinions contrast with the majority. I appreciated the visceral quality of Ambrose Pierce's writing in "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge". However, I felt that the story's main conceit undermined its brilliance. While others say Pierce manipulates time and reality in how he crafts this story, I felt underwhelmed and unamused. Perhaps I prefer short stories with more emphasis on characterization, and in that case, my disappointment falls on me, not Pierce.Would recommend checking out this more positive review by one of my thoughtful Goodreads friends whose words I often enjoy. I intend to post my top 10 favorite books of 2015 tomorrow - keep your eyes peeled, friends.
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  • Tracey
    January 1, 1970
    If you've got half an hour spare read this excellent short story. It's 'creepy', imaginative and will satisfy all the Poe (as in Edgar Allen) in you. How does it feel to be hanged? how does it feel to drown, what about if someone is shooting at you? I think I have an idea now. And the ending is just brilliant.
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  • Meike
    January 1, 1970
    Reading this classic short story, I realized that experimental postmodern texts like Solar Bones and (to a degree) Shutter Island are basically "doing an Ambrose Bierce": The narrator himself is unaware that he is unreliable, and this makes for a compelling read. In the case of Bierce, the story - a plantation owner is hanged from the title-giving bridge during the American Civil War - becomes secondary, it's all about the captivating writing, the structure and the powerful twist ending: Yes, on Reading this classic short story, I realized that experimental postmodern texts like Solar Bones and (to a degree) Shutter Island are basically "doing an Ambrose Bierce": The narrator himself is unaware that he is unreliable, and this makes for a compelling read. In the case of Bierce, the story - a plantation owner is hanged from the title-giving bridge during the American Civil War - becomes secondary, it's all about the captivating writing, the structure and the powerful twist ending: Yes, only at the very end both the narrator and the reader suddenly realize what has been happening throughout the text. I love this kind of narrative, and Bierce is an example that experimental storytelling is not an exclusively postmodern thing: This text was crafted in 1890, but it reads like it could have been written yesterday. Being a fan of Eddie Poe, I also appreciated the psychological horror elements - I have to read more Ambrose Bierce.
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  • Asha Seth
    January 1, 1970
    Beautifully tragic!"The Yanks are repairing the railroads," said the man, "and aregetting ready for another advance. They have reached the Owl Creekbridge, put it in order and built a stockade on the north bank. Thecommandant has issued an order, which is posted everywhere, declaringthat any civilian caught interfering with the railroad, its bridges,tunnels, or trains will be summarily hanged. I saw the order.""To be hanged and drowned," he thought, "that isnot so bad; but I do not wish to be sh Beautifully tragic!"The Yanks are repairing the railroads," said the man, "and aregetting ready for another advance. They have reached the Owl Creekbridge, put it in order and built a stockade on the north bank. Thecommandant has issued an order, which is posted everywhere, declaringthat any civilian caught interfering with the railroad, its bridges,tunnels, or trains will be summarily hanged. I saw the order.""To be hanged and drowned," he thought, "that isnot so bad; but I do not wish to be shot. No; I will not be shot;that is not fair."
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  • Richard
    January 1, 1970
    One of my favorite short stories. It's a total classic and is still inspiring stories today.
  • Trudi
    January 1, 1970
    I've never read anything by Ambrose Bierce and this was a great place to start. It is a very immediate, visceral sort of story that's all about the senses. There is nothing like being so close to Death that you can reach out and shake his hand to bring everything into sharp focus. Bierce's vivid prose captures the desperation and drive of a man about to be hanged, who may just be given a second chance after all. It's a story filled with dramatic flair and urgent energy. Thanks for the rec, Steph I've never read anything by Ambrose Bierce and this was a great place to start. It is a very immediate, visceral sort of story that's all about the senses. There is nothing like being so close to Death that you can reach out and shake his hand to bring everything into sharp focus. Bierce's vivid prose captures the desperation and drive of a man about to be hanged, who may just be given a second chance after all. It's a story filled with dramatic flair and urgent energy. Thanks for the rec, Stephen!This story is available online for free.
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  • Algernon (Darth Anyan)
    January 1, 1970
    I'm glad I didn't read any reviews before trying this short story. Very effective storytelling, a bit on the short side but it does what it sets out to do: explores a situation that many readers are curious about, but surely would do anything in their power to avoid experiencing at first hand. Namely, a hanging.Like all good short stories, there's also a twist at the end that throws a new light on the preceding pages.I think that's enough commentary for a title where the Gutenberg licence is lon I'm glad I didn't read any reviews before trying this short story. Very effective storytelling, a bit on the short side but it does what it sets out to do: explores a situation that many readers are curious about, but surely would do anything in their power to avoid experiencing at first hand. Namely, a hanging.Like all good short stories, there's also a twist at the end that throws a new light on the preceding pages.I think that's enough commentary for a title where the Gutenberg licence is longer and more verbose than the actual text.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Wouldn't it have been better if the story ended when Peyton embraced his wife? Of course not, that would have been too typical and cliche..Well, thank you Bierce, you made me cry!I guess what the story is trying to tell us is, sometimes we don't get the happy endings we thoroughly expected. Sometimes in life, there are no second chances.. A great story and a great moral.
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  • Patricia Graham
    January 1, 1970
    Ambrose Bierce’s, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," is one of ingenuity. A frame within a frame leaves the reader questioning what is true and what is not. Bierce's literary device of situational irony is implemented in order to the deceive the readers. Psychological warfare is evident not only with the protagonist, which is about to be hung, but Bierce manipulates his readers. This is my type of book. I do not like the predictability of a plot, where foreshadowing in itself is a spoiler aler Ambrose Bierce’s, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," is one of ingenuity. A frame within a frame leaves the reader questioning what is true and what is not. Bierce's literary device of situational irony is implemented in order to the deceive the readers. Psychological warfare is evident not only with the protagonist, which is about to be hung, but Bierce manipulates his readers. This is my type of book. I do not like the predictability of a plot, where foreshadowing in itself is a spoiler alert.
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