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An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
Interactive Literature Selections

Literary Tools
Flashback. A flashback is a section of a literary work that presents an event or series of events that occurred earlier than the current time in the work. Unlike traditional, straight-
forward narratives that present plot events chronologically, this story relies on flashbacks and journeys into the mind of the main character. Look for examples of flashback as you read the story.

Psychological Fiction. Psychological fiction is fiction that emphasizes the interior, subjective experiences of its characters, and especially such fiction when it deals with emotional or mental disturbance or anguish. Bierce’s stories paved the way for much modern fiction with portrayals of the private psychological states of his characters. As you read, look for passages that qualify as psychological fiction.

Reader's Resource
Bierce uses details about military customs and regulations to lend authenticity to “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” In its use of authentic, precisely observed details, this story is a fine early example of American Realism. It is also an early example of Naturalism, a type of writing that reveals the forces beyond people’s control that determine not only their circumstances and fate, but also their characters, personalities, and subjective experiences. Although Bierce is often remembered for his bitter and caustic wit, in “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” he concentrates on telling a good story with enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing until the last sentence.

readers journal
If you knew you were about to die, what would you think about?

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