Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To me, the main themes of this story are time (and how we perceive time) and our attitudes towards death.

In this story, Peyton Farquhar experiences a lot of things (as it turns out) in the time between when he falls off the bridge and the split second later when he dies.  People experience time differently depending on what is going on with them.

Second, we can see how hard Farquhar is holding on to life.  He does not want to die and is holding on to life as hard as he can, trying to live as long as he can.

epollock | Student

This story is a wonderful illustration because of Bierce’s attempt to contrast real time with our human perception of time. It is centered in the consciousness of the central character, Farquhar, except for the dramatically rendered section beginning with paragraph 8. Additionally, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" is a fine suspense story, because as the narrator moves into Farquhar’s mind the reader is led to believe, at least temporarily, in the details of the escape. The story is therefore a virtuoso piece in the use of point of view and in narrative detail.

Read the study guide:
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question