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Ambrose Bierces short story An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge 1891 is not merely about a crime and its punishment namely the execution by hanging of Peyton Farquhar a Southern plantation owner and civilian during the American Civil War for trying to sabotage the construction of a Union railroad at Owl Creek Bridge The story takes the protagonist as well as the reader on a journey into the psychological and sensory landscape of a dying mans psyche Although this is the main focus there are temporal geographical political and autobiographical journey leitmotifs Ambrose Bierces writing provided a cathartic outlet by allowing him to delve into unsolved past issues writing eased some strange pressures within him and that somehow he laxated his psyche by assaulting his own past Bleiler xix He had to leave behind his suffocating civilian life to discover more about himself through the challenges of military life After this journey of self-discovery his four years as a Union soldier in the Civil War Bierce emerged a battle-scarred officerAnd he had come to know himself not only his strengths but the inner terrors which everyone must learn to cope with in moments of crisis to meet the recurring challenges of lifeGrenander 15 Or sometimes so aptly described in An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge - to meet the challenges of death It is interesting to note that Peyton Farquhar the protagonist of this short story might have been tempted like Ambrose Bierce to escape the reality of his mundane existence of civilian life and experience the unattainable yet seductively exciting army life - he chafed under the inglorious restraint longing for the release of his energies the larger life of the soldier the opportunity for distinctionBierce 454 Perhaps he is being punished for having subconscious illusions of grandeur of wanting to be a war hero helping to save the South from the threatening North invaders This geographic division within one country the
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