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Special Bierce’s Style of Narration Essay

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Updated: Jan 16th, 2022

Introduction

Bierce starts the story with an unusual and shocking description of a man who is being prepared for hanging. The last seconds of his life are passing away, and the inevitability of fate is felt in the following words: “Striking through the thought of his dear ones was a sound which he could neither ignore nor understand, a sharp, distinct, metallic percussion… The intervals of silence grew progressively longer; the delays became maddening” (Charters). At his point, the reader does not know the man’s name or his story, and focuses only on his feeling of being trapped in the horror of coming death. Another important quotation is, “he dug his fingers into the sand, threw it over himself in handfuls and audibly blessed it. It looked like gold, like diamonds, rubies, emeralds; he could think of nothing beautiful which it did not resemble” (Charters). This is the moment when a beautiful and romantic world of Farquhar’s illusion is unfolding in front of the reader.

Literary qualities

It is necessary to mention a special Bierce’s style of narration as he mixes all the events and confuses the reader’s sense of time. Although the imaginary escape is described in detail and takes a substantial part of the story, in the end, the reader discovers that Farquhar’s illusion lasted only a few seconds. Thus, the writer shows that people perceive time in a specific and subjective way, especially under mental and emotional pressure. Also, Bierce focuses on the natural desire of a human being to deceive death and flee from it. Farquhar cannot submit to death, so he starts imagining the escape. His senses are so acute at the moment; he can imagine every single detail of it.

Questions

Nevertheless, there is a question, why does a usual farmer leave his family and put his life at risk in an attempt to destroy the bridge? He undertook a task too difficult and dangerous for a civil person. He could do so. He was a courageous man ready to stand up for his views, or, maybe, because he was just a naïve and romantic villager.

Works Cited

Charters, Ann, editor. The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction. 9th ed. Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2015.

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IvyPanda. "Special Bierce’s Style of Narration." January 16, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/special-bierces-style-of-narration/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Special Bierce’s Style of Narration." January 16, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/special-bierces-style-of-narration/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Special Bierce’s Style of Narration'. 16 January.

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