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Week 13

Teen Readers

Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Audio Version

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Text Version

Ambrose Bierce

About the Author

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?)

Ambrose Bierce was born on June 24th, 1842 in Meigs County, Ohio.  He is most famous for The Devil’s Dictionary and his short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.  Bierce worked as a printer’s apprentice, eventually attaining jobs as a writer and editor for newspapers.  He also he enlisted in the 9th Indiana Volunteers in 1861, fighting in several American Civil War battles.  Bierce’s death remains an unsolved mystery.  Tired of life in America and estranged from his wife and many friends, he traveled to Mexico to observe the Mexican Revolution and is speculated to have been killed in the siege of Ojinaga in January 1914.

“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” (1890)

The story is set during the American Civil War and was written from a stream of consciousness point of view of the protagonist.  It is famous for its shifting sequence of time and surprising twist at the end. 

Questions for “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”

What does this story imply about the human attitude toward death?

What is the significance of the ticking watch?

In what way does this story show the impact of war?

Do you think the author favored a side in the Civil War?  If so, which side?

Did the ending surprise you?  Do you see any ways that the author foreshadowed the ending?

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