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Depths of Realism in Literature

            Realism is broadly defined as "verisimilitude". In my definition, it's that knock on our door that forces us to understand it's really happening, minus the illusions and imagination. A literary piece that is a great example of realism and a hint of romanticism is "The Occurrence on Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce. Before Bierce wrote this short story, he was first lieutenant during the American Civil War. In his short story, you will find many detailed scenarios believed to have really happened during Bierce's military career. The story begins with the impending execution by Union soldiers of Peyton Farquhar, a confederate sympathizer and plantation owner, on a bridge. With all the characteristics and details found in this story, it's clear that this story is a model of realism literature. .
             As the story opens, Bierce describes to us the setting of the execution site and the soldiers in their positions during the execution. Bierce describes this scene with clear focus on details.
             "A sentinel at the each end of the bridge stood with his rifle in the position known as "support", that is to say, vertical in front of the left shoulder, the hammer resting on the forearm thrown straight across the chest – a formal and unnatural position, enforcing an erect carriage of the body. [1]".
             Bierce's use of specific details presented in the story and the diction used is important to the style of realism as compared to Edgar Allan Poe's poems of romanticism. In Edgar Allan Poe's "Annabel Lee", Poe uses a lot of crafting of language, where as Bierce uses language that is vernacular to the time period and setting. Most of the sentences are simple and lack poetic sounds but not monotonous because of the vivid description used to complete this story. One part of realism that is critical to the style of realism is Bierce's description of Farquhar's appearance.

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