Ambrose Bierce 1842 – 1914?
Ambrose Bierce • Born in Ohio; grew up in Indiana • 10th of 13 children – all had names beginning with the letter A • Raised in poverty- which shaped his unsentimental pessimistic view of the world
1861: Bierce enlisted in the Ninth Indiana Infantry for the Civil War. He was a soldier for the entire duration of the war until resigning in 1865 after receiving a bullet wound to the head.
Ambrose Bierce Joined the Union army at the outbreak of the Civil War at age 20 Fought in several important battles Rose from private to lieutenant Won many awards for bravery
Ambrose Bierce • Lived in San Francisco and became a famous contributor to local newspapers and journals • Social critic, satirist -- Earned the name “Bitter Bierce”
Famous for the short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” which uses his experience from the Civil War • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xjkLTM7jok
Ambrose Bierce • As a soldier, the war and the experience influenced many of his works. Bierce’s short story “An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge” was written with the setting of the war, the mood, and the people of the war in mind. 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Color Guard
Ambrose Bierce Bierce participates in a realist tradition that helped to transform popular conceptions of war. He takes his place among other writers, artists, and photographers of the era who did not romanticize or avoid the war’s horrific nature. Instead, they presented shockingly detailed portrayals of violence and death.
REALISM Literal truth The representation in art or literature of objects, actions, or social conditions as they actually are.
REALISM A break from Romanticism, Realism is any effort to portray life as it truly is. In the middle of the 19th century, kings and queens, ghosts, sea creatures, and monsters gave way to farmers, merchants, lawyers, laborers, and bakers.
REALISM Realism in literature was part of a wider movement in the arts to focus on ordinary people and events.
Characteristics of Realistic Fiction Realists take their subject matter from ordinary life. Realists were influenced by the spread of democracy in Europe and North America. Middle and lower class citizens were becoming increasingly important.
Characteristics of Realistic Fiction Realists placed an emphasis on characters. As democracy spread, so did the importance of the individual. As individuals became more important in the "real" world, characters became more important in Realist literature.
Characteristics of Realistic Fiction Detailed settings became important as a means of establishing the realistic nature of main characters and places. Dialect became popular as did an emphasis on local color.
Characteristics of Realistic Fiction Character, not plot, is the essence of Realism Literature.
Ambrose Bierce’s “An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge” uses descriptive and poetic language as a device in many ways throughout the story; foreshadowing, character portrayal, identifying between fantasy and reality and to evoke a mood.
Pay Special Attention to: • Point of View – the narrative perspective from which it is told. • 1st person – the narrator is the character in the work who describes events and uses I, me, and my. • 3rd person – events are related by a voice outside the action and uses words like he, she, and they • Omniscient – aware of all characters’ thoughts • Limited – focuses on one character’s thoughts
The story is set during the Civil War, focusing on the civilian, Peyton Farquhar, who has a strong desire to serve as a Confederate soldier, but cannot. Farquhar is waiting to be hung. The story was written in three sections:
Section 1: Reader is introduced to Peyton’s present situation and his mindset. • Section 2: Peyton’s background and how he came to the misfortune of having a noose around his neck on Owl Creek Bridge. • Section 3: What goes on in Peyton’s mind.
MINI HISTORY LESSON! • NORTH • WORE BLUE • CALLED YANKS • UNION • SOUTH • WORE GRAY • CALLED CONFEDERATES • CONFEDERACY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xjkLTM7jok (1:24) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VI3LUckrQaY (1:03) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPqVpRInxGA (:51) use this one
Ambrose Bierce • In his later years, he traveled to Mexico as an observer of the Mexican Civil War, along side PanchoVilla, a Mexican revolutionary.
Ambrose Bierce “Disappeared” on December 26, 1913. Some say he was shot by the Mexicans he was with so as to not reveal their position; others say he shot himself near the Grand Canyon. His disappearance was one of the most famous news stories of the time.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw0wEMIBfos Audio, about 25 minutes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuP5kUQro40 Video black and white, 27 minutes