Owl Creek Bridge Romanticism

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Realism versus Romanticism in “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” In Ambrose Bierce’s “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”, Bierce illustrates the change from the Romantic period to the Realism period. The Romantic period focused on heroes and excessive imagery, while Realism pertained to events that could happen in real life. The period shift came about in the 1870’s. “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” illustrates this shift, as well as gives Bierce’s commentary on the two literary periods. Bierce uses literary techniques, including structure, symbolism, and irony, to show the reader the differences of the two periods and how they relate. According to David Cremean, “all new literary eras... are in part forged by reactions against the…show more content…
According to Cheatham and Cheatham, irony plays a big part in the development of the story. They argue that Peyton Farquhar’s name is ironic in and of itself. The name means to be manly or brave, a person of noble descent. Even with this noble name, Farquhar is not a war hero and manages is caught and executed for his attempted spying. In addition to Cheatham and Cheatham, Farquhar’s actions also hold a lot of irony. Farquhar thought of himself as a war hero, even though he was just a planted. He went to spy on the enemy although he knew nothing of war. His capture is ironic in the sense that he thought so highly of himself but ends up dying instead. He loses his nobility to a hangman’s noose. It is also ironic that during part one it says Farquhar, “…closed his eyes in order to fix his last thoughts upon his wife and children”, but instead of thinking about his children and wife he begins to think about escape from his predicament (Bierce). His thoughts barely come back to his family in the ending. He thinks about his wife arrayed in beauty, greeting him coming home. The irony is that Farquhar can no longer protect his family. He was not the hero he thought he was; instead, his death shows his inadequacy to be that
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