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An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Questions

1. With what emotions did you respond to the story’s ending? Explain your answer.

The story ends in suspense. One is not aware what conspired after the whole incident. It leaves the reader with thirst for more information and insight on any eventualities that took place after the third scene. It leaves one pondering on any possibilities and occurrences that may trigger suspicion.

2. a) Identify one example of Farquhar’s distorted perceptions.

He is not completely sure of the next occurrence. The hero does not know what to do next in the quest of getting his final freedom. This is where the dilemma comes in, and he has to find a quick solution to his impending danger, or else face the arm of the law and of his pursuers.

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b) Interpret what causes this distortion.

The character is in a precarious situation where he cannot immediately elucidate on what may conspire in the event of his pursuers getting close to him. He actually knew that there was danger, and he had to protect himself, but had no option but to keep on with his journey.

3. a) What does Farquhar visualize moments before he is hanged?

He goes on to shut his eyes in a bid to push away any distractions in his present situation and focus more intently on the thoughts of his family – wife and children. Farquhar suddenly hears a very sharp and metallic ringing, which totally sounds at the same time at a distance and close by. The sound goes on to turn to be the normal ticking of his valued watch.

b) Connect: How is his journey connected with this earlier vision?

His journey is greatly linking with his earlier vision of being pursued and having a quest for freedom. The hero knows that he is being pursued by the Northern soldiers, and he wants to go back home, where he will be at peace and next to his family.

4. a) What sensation does Farquhar’s experience “with terrible suddenness?”

Farquhar goes on to see a light flicker and also fades before it really strengthens and also brightens as he is rising, which is accompanied with some great trepidation, to that surface. The character is afraid that he may be shot by the emerging Northern soldiers immediately they could spot him in the water.

b) Distinguish: Which details suggest that Farquhar’s escape occurs in his mind?

He opens his eyes and peers again into the water. He imagines the way to free his hands, mainly by removing the noose, and also plunging into the stream. This will eventually allow Farquhar to swim to freedom and as well his home, which was safely located at a place outside enemy lines.

5 a) Extend: What does this story suggest about the psychology of a person facing a life or death situation?

This story clearly brings out the idea that even the ordinary person can observe through the visions what may happen to him or her in the near future. One may have an inner feeling, or even foreshadowing, whereby he or she can come to terms with a certain situation in life, either while facing life or even in a death situation. These insights that a man perceives have a major implication on his or her life.

b) Speculate: Are such insights applicable in daily life, or merely in extreme circumstances, like those of war? Explain.

Yes, they are. The insights are extremely applicable in everybody’s daily life. This does not necessarily trickle down to one specific notion, but to one’s whole life. In line with war, the soldiers may perceive an imminent danger and act or respond towards it. It may also aid them in preparing to avoid a given scenario that may jeopardize their quest for victory.

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The Blurred Line Existing between Reality and Illusion:

Reality and illusion greatly operate on a large front in “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. This goes on until the final and closing stages of the story, where one still cannot elucidate on the difference between the two. Farquhar’s imminent illusion comes out as reality for most of us – readers. The character continues to create his fantasy notion out of sheer desperation when he is almost dying. His mind is seen to supply the needed flight and also successful escape that proves hard for his body to achieve on its own.

Change of Tone

This is shown in the story by:

Death is a dignitary who when he comes announced is to be received with formal manifestations of respect, even by those most familiar with him (Ambrose).

Use of flashback

There is a quotation in the story which illustrates this:

As these thoughts, which have here to be set down in words, were flashed into the doomed man’s brain rather than evolved from it the captain nodded to the sergeant. The sergeant stepped aside.

This was to prove what was to happen earlier to the in life of Farquah.

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