The Role Of Survival In Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge And Build A Fire

1123 words - 5 pages

The instinct to survive is found deep within the human nature. It is that which keeps every individual driven to fight through the toughest circumstances in order to remain their existence. The short stories “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce and “To Build a Fire” by Jack London each are linked to the role of survival that exists in every individual. Each of these author’s pieces of literature are linked with the role of survival by the use of the literary elements.Through the use of irony, the short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” is linked to the role of survival. The protagonist Peyton Farquhar is being hanged by fede ...view middle of the document...

Its recurrence was regular but slow as the tolling of a death knell. The intervals of silence grew progressively longer and the delays became maddening. What he heard was the ticking of his watch. This symbolizes that his time was running out and the progression of fear as he waited for the time of death to come upon him. While escaping the federal troops, an appalling plash within two yards of him was followed by a loud, rushing sound, diminuendo, which seemed to travel back through the air to the fort and died in an explosion which stirred the river to its deeps. This represents the terror that struck him as he knew he was about to die. Another example of sound that disturbs his thoughts going through his mind was immediately before he dies, Farquhar hears a sound like the shock of a cannon before all is dark and silent. This is his last moment before death. Survival was not physically possible for Farquhar, however, psychologically, his survival instincts kicked in giving him the feeling and the illusion of escape.The short story “To Build a Fire” uses the literary element of foreshadowing throughout the story. As the man and his dog are trudging through the blizzard, the man sends the dog ahead to check for any water springs that may be concealed by a layer of snow and ice. The dog broke through the ice and ended up wetting its foot. Then, the water soon turned to ice. In its instinct for survival, the dog quickly began to bite out the ice that had formed. This foreshadowed the man breaking through the ice and stepping into the spring below his knee. He also attempted to dry his foot and continue on his survival. In the beginning of the story, the man acknowledges his frosting cheeks and decides that it is nothing serious. This foreshadows that later in the story the numbness became more serious and spread to different parts of his body including his fingers. The man became unable to feel them and he was required to use ...


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