silhouette of a man half submerged in water wiht a noose around his neck

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

by Ambrose Bierce

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In "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" and "10 Minutes," what elements of literary storytelling did you note and how do they work to create meaning?

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This is rather a broad question, so I will answer it as best I can. If you want to follow it up with another more detailed question, please do not hesitate to get back to me.

The biggest element of story telling that is used in "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" is the use of flashbacks to reveal the story of how Peyton Farquhar came to be hung at the beginning of the story. Ambrose Bierce deliberately tells this short story in a non-chronological fashion, starting off with his hanging, then returning to the events that led up to his hanging, then discussing his flight of fantasy as he "escapes" in the third section of this short story. It is only the delaying of the past that prevents us from feeling more sympathy with Peyton Farquhar as a character in the novel, as this second section, focusing as it does on a flashback, heightens the dramatic contrast between Parts I and III.

In "10 Minutes," the major element of literary storytelling that is used is the shift of setting from a tourist in Rome on a busy street to a war site in the former Yugoslavia where even the most basic actions such as collecting water become fraught with danger. This juxtaposition of the two very different scenes is used to shock the viewer into thinking about how, while we wait impatiently for very trivial things to occur, elsewhere cataclysmic events might happen during the same period of time.

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