Farquhar's perceptions of time and motion begin to become distorted while he is waiting to be hanged. He is looking down at Owl Creek, which is described as "racing madly," but to him it seems "sluggish." He sees a piece of driftwood which should be moving swiftly in the "swirling water," yet to him it is drifting slowly.
How slowly it appeared to move! What a sluggish stream!
Then when he falls between the ties with the noose around his neck, he has only a few seconds to live, and yet in his imagination he experiences a whole series of events which could take hours. When he finally imaginies that he has reached his home, which we are told is about thirty miles from the Owl Creek bridge,
All is as he left it, and all bright and beautiful in
the morning sunshine. He must have traveled the
His perception of time has been so altered that his imagined escape and journey back to his home all take place within a few seconds. It has often been said that a man's whole life can flash before his eyes in a few moments when he is dying, and Ambrose Bierce's story makes this seem credible.