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

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge book cover
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Why as readers are we meant to have sympathy with the man and the predicament he's in?

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At the beginning of the famous short story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce, a man is bound and about to be hanged from a railroad bridge by soldiers of the Union Army during the Civil War. The man, who appears to be a civilian and a gentleman, has a kindly expression. As the soldiers prepare for the execution, he thinks of his wife and children. The man considers his fate as the plank that will send him downward to his death is loosed. This is the end of the first part of the story. Bierce has created the situation of a lone man at the mercy of an army who thinks of his wife and children before he dies. We don't yet know why he has been condemned to death, but already readers sympathize with his plight because he is one person alone, helpless against many and missing his family.

The second...

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