There comes a point in time in which all of life's eventful moments must come to an end, this specific instant is that of which there is no return. Optimistically speaking, one should pass with as much peace, and as little pain as possible. Unfortunately, often times the case is not guaranteed. On the brink of death all of life comes to a halt, resulting in an endless stream of reflecting thoughts and wishful thinking. All of which are viewed through the eyes of Peyton Farquhar, in Ambrose Pierce's "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." In recapitulating such a somber story, particular literary elements such as symbolism, point of view, and conflict aid in conveying the over all theme. A theme of which expresses the tragedy in the last moments leading up to the ending point of someone's life. .
At a first glance, Peyton Farquhar is an average planter, coming from a well respected family in the south, within the state of Alabama. Owning many slaves Farquhar, a 'politician' was passionately devoted to the Southern cause (Pierce 553). Which is exactly what led to his execution on Owl Creek Bridge. Moments before Farquhar reaches his point of death, he focuses intently on a sound described as a "Sharp, distinct, metallic percussion like the stroke of a blacksmith's hammer upon the anvil" continuing on to say, "It's reoccurrence was regular, but as slow as the tolling of a death knell" (Pierce 553). In these uncanny moments reaching Farquhar's death, Pierce's use of symbolism shown through the description of Farquhar's watch ticking dreadfully, emphasizes the theme of tragedy within the moments before one's passing. The ticking of the watch is interpreted as a countdown within Peyton Farquhar's mind leading to his cognizant demise. "He awaited each stroke with impatienceThe intervals of silence grew progressively longer, the delays became maddening" (Bierce 553).