How are setting and plot important to make "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" a good example of realism?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The painstaking detail with which Bierce portrays scenes lends much realism to "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge":  For instance, in the exposition, the narrator names the exact location of the railroad bridge on which the prisoner stands with wrists bound in cord behind his back and a rope "closely encircled his neck." This detail prepares the reader to accept Part III as realistic.  In its sublety of great detail, the lines "One [bullet] lodged between his collar and neck; it was uncomfortably warm and he snatched it out" slip past an inattentive reader.  In fact, the transition from reality to the "reality of the mind" is almost imperceptible as Farquhar stands at the gate of his home watching his wife in an "attitue of matchless grace and dignity until a "blinding white light blazes all about him with a sound like the shock of a cannon," and he is dead from a broken neck.