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Successful Surprises in Literature

            In the short stories "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," by Ambrose Bierce and "The Lottery," by Shirley Jackson, the authors left their audience in shock and awe. These authors were successful in their surprise endings because of the unique arrangement of the story; they carefully set up subtle clues, and told the reader everything they needed to know at the end of the story. .
             The authors of "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" and "The Lottery" did an astounding job at keeping the audience from guessing what the ending will be by writing the story in such a way that almost distracts the reader from the true outcome. For example "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" was written in anachronic order starting off by telling a story during the civil war era about how a man is about to be hanged. Then the story then changes direction by introducing that man as Peyton Farquhar and finally telling the audience about his untimely death. All the while in the mix throwing in a daydream by the main character that leads the reader to believe that Farquhar has made an escape.
             If Ambrose Bierce were to tell the story in chronological order the audience would have caught on to what was happening a lot quicker. The element that helps the plot of the story "The Lottery" become so effective is the author withheld what the lottery really was until later in the story. The beginning of the story starts out as a normal day the villagers at time square waiting to get the lottery over so they can get back to their daily activities. "In some towns there were so many people that the lottery took two days and had to be started on June 2nd. but in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o'clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner.

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