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Word Count: 785
The Quest for Heroism in An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge In An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Ambrose Bierce portrays the tragic end of the life of the main character Peyton Farquhar Paradoxically Farquhar strives for recognition as a hero but dies dishonorably During the Civil War Farquhar is denied acceptance into the Confederate Army Still wanting to be a hero he is caught attempting to burn Owl Creek Bridge Ironically he is hanged on that very bridge as punishment Having had his own experience as a Union officer in the Civil War Ambrose Bierce illustrates how sometimes the desire for acknowledgment can become so strong that it overshadows the possible consequences and often times the worst happens Through setting characterization and conflict Bierce emphasizes that we should always bear in our minds what the consequences of our actions might be Peyton Farquhars life was ordinary before he attempted this scandalous act He was a well-to-do planter living on a plantation with a wife and children While he was denied entry into the army he still did what he could to help the South No adventure was too perilous for him to undertake As he awaiting his death his mind races with thoughts of escape Miraculously it seems he does escape and amazingly makes it through perilous situations which would have otherwise killed him As he is about to reach his wife the story reverts back to reality and Farquhar is hung His daydream shows that his unconscious mind also made a last attempt at heroism which allowed him to escape from the horror being put to death The setting intensifies the irony by Farquhars life being destroyed at the very place that he wanted to destroy This depicts that the one thing you desire so much for in life is actually the thing that destroys you Looking back on the story the reader realizes that the setting gave clues that Farquhars escape is
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