An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge Theme

What is the theme of "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

"An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge" contains two themes regarding time and reality. In all, these themes advance Bierce's message that war is unnatural.

Ambrose Bierce liked to have a twist at the end of his stories.  He also likes to write about the Civil War. When the reader embraces “The Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” he gets the best of both from Bierce.  Serving as a topographical officer, Bierce received a serious head wound in battle in 1864.  From this experience, Bierce understood the traumatic injury and how a life could be lost in the “blink of an eye.”

The story is divided into three parts

First part- The story begins with a group of silent figures standing on a railroad bridge.  The time is the Civil War.  A man dressed in Civilian clothes is about to be  hanged.  As the man waits the time of his execution, he imagines that he could escape and find his way home to his wife and children. 

Second part - The man is Peyton Farquhar, a wealthy slave owner. ...

(The entire section contains 608 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team