In "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" what isthe overall message
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I would say one of the themes is fantasy versus reality. Although we would like to think Peyton Farquhar will escape, and he pretends he does, the reality is that he is actually hanged.
I tend to look at the message of the text as being one which highlights the way one's life allows them to pass peacefully onto the next (if that is what one believes). Farquhar uses his memories to make his death easier.
I have always viewed this story as the perfect example of the old saying about how a person's past life flashes before their eyes in the final moment of death. Such was the case with Peyton Farquhar.
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