A Christmas tree decorated with a few memorable handmade ornaments is more interesting than those decorated with numerous store-bought baubles.
When one gazes on these ornaments it brings about questions of their origin, who made them, and what was in their minds to spur their creativity. The age of these ornaments, and what joy it gave to the recipient can only be imagined. Authors may leave out details purposely in their stories to allow the readers to infuse their own imagination and knowledge. In "At the Bridge" Heinrich Boll leaves out important details such as setting and background information. This not only evokes the reader's imagination, but it also causes them to question the intentions of the main character throughout the story.
Heinrich Boll creates an unnamed character that is hinted to be a veteran of World War II. "They have patched up my legs." (416). This is the only information given about his injuries. The exact cause or extent of his wounds are not revealed. Whether he can walk remains a question that the reader can only answer with imagination. The readers of this story are capable of forming a different opinion of his disabilities. Yet, everyone reading it will feel sympathy for this character as the story unfolds. The readers can also question the setting and personal information of the main character. The lack of details will elicit emotion in readers as their experiences and personality dictates. .
Counting people crossing a bridge is the only detail given regarding the main character's profession. Exactly who he works for remains a mystery. What the purpose of this task also remains unanswered. The manipulation of the numbers reflects his mood and the character's control over his employer. "I hold their happiness in the palm of my hands" (416). Proving that when he is feeling negatively he under reports the numbers, while a good mood elicits an exaggerated number.