An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Questions and Answers
by Ambrose Bierce

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In which sections of "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" is an outside person narrating the action? In which sections of the story do we get to hear Farquhar’s thoughts?

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In unfolding "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," Ambrose Bierce narrates action through both outside observation (third-person narration) and Farquhar’s own thoughts (interior monologue). Bierce effectively switches between outside narration and Farquhar’s thoughts to establish the story’s setting and context, move the action along, and present readers with visceral detail of Farquhar’s experiences.

In part I, paragraphs one to three, an outside or third-person narrator introduces “the man” (Farquhar) who is being prepared for hanging by soldiers of the Federal army. The action is told to readers as if an impersonal observer is simply reporting the facts. The fourth paragraph begins with a description of actions that will occur to carry out the hanging (sentences one to seven). The eighth and ninth sentences shift to man’s actions. In the last two sentences, the reader is taken into his thoughts as he observes the water flowing below his feet: “How slowly it appeared to...

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