Examines the death penalty topic in two narratives.
This paper looks at Ambrose Bierce’s fictional account of a hanging in An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and the true account of the near-execution of an innocent man, Joseph Green Brown. The paper talks about the implications both narratives have concerning the death penalty and how both present a strong case against the death penalty.
In An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, the occurrence in question is the hanging of Peyton Fahrquhar, a civilian who was strongly committed to the Southern cause. Parts of the story imply that the killing was conducted for political or strategic military reasons. After all, Fahrquhar is of noble birth and is most likely, a slave owner. He is well known in the community, and his hanging would surely generate news among Southerners. He was also fed information by a gray-clad soldier who later turned out to be a Federal Scout dressed in confederate uniform.