An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What are examples of foreshadowing in "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"?

Expert Answers info

William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write5,416 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Another example of foreshadowing in "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" is to be found in what is going through Peyton Farquhar's mind as he is standing on the bridge with a noose around his neck waiting to be hanged. 

He unclosed his eyes and saw again the water below him. "If I could free my hands," he thought, "I might throw off the noose and spring into the stream. By diving I could evade the bullets and, swimming vigorously, reach the bank, take to the woods and get away home."

The reader will certainly notice this passage because anyone who was going to be hanged would be thinking about the possibility of escaping. And the only possibility of escaping in such a situation would be to fall into the water and get carried downstream while staying underwater as much as possible to evade the soldiers' bullets. It turns out that what Farquhar is thinking is pretty much what he imagines actually happens, except that he doesn't free his hands and get rid of the noose until the rope seems to break and he finds himself in the water. He had also noted that the creek, though only a creek, was full of rushing water at that time of year. So it was easy to imagine that it had carried him very quickly out of rifle range.

The whole story of Farquhar's apparent escape and flight to his home would only have occurred in the condemned man's imagination if he had been thinking about how to escape just before he fell between the cross-ties with the noose around his neck.

As these thoughts, which have here to be set down in words, were flashed into the doomed man's brain rather than evolved from it the captain nodded to the sergeant. The sergeant stepped aside.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write16,149 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Ambrose Bierce 's psychological adventure story is certainly a departure from the standard format of traditional short stories as it is a narrative...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 627 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

bullgatortail eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write7,077 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial