Compare the effects of the different narrative voices in "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge."

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator
In the first section of the story, Bierce describes the setting of the execution up to the point where "the sergeant stepped aside" and Peyton begins his last journey to the bottom of the rope. The second section of the story is told from a standard, third person point of view. In this section, Bierce gives the reasons why Farquhar is being hanged. It seems he was tricked by a Union spy into believing the Owl Creek Bridge was not well-guarded and Farquhar had tried to burn down the bridge. The second part does vary a little from the first section of the story because some of Farquhar's perceptions are described.

The third section picks up after "the sergeant stepped aside". Here, the narrator tells of Farquhar's sensation of the rope breaking and his struggle to escape from the Union army. The perceptions of Farquhar seem somewhat supernatural because he can see insects on trees and even the color of the eyes of the Union soldier shooting at him. At the end of this section, the narration suddenly changes back to the third person and the reader discovers that Farquhar is dead. The narration has shifted to show the confusion and disorientation that Farquhar feels as he is dying on the end of the rope.
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An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

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