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Ambrose Bierce and Henry James Works Comparison

“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce is rather a short story originally published in 1890. The primary characteristic of the story is irregular time spacing and unclear ending. By the end of the story, the reader does not have an understanding of what has really happened with the main character. “The Jolly Corner” by Henry James, on the other side, is organized better. It was published in 1908 and belongs to the category of ghost stories. Despite the evident differences between these two stories, they are very similar in theme. Both authors devote their attention to the exploration of human nature, insanity, and the supernatural.

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Structure

“The Jolly Corner” does not have any divisions but the structure is clear and consistent. The story opens with Spencer Brydon returning to New York City after thirty years spent abroad. The storyline evolves in agreement with time and the reader can easily trace the sequence of events organized in chronological order. In particular, Brydon arrives in the city, decides to tear down his old house, meets Alice Staverton, confronts the ghost, passes out (or falls asleep), and wakes up. Thus, the structure is well-rounded. While “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” story is divided into three chapters or sections, there is no thematic or logical structure. The division of chapters is vague and the events are twisted in future, present, and past time. While it is possible to catch the plotline in the first two chapters, at the end of the story it becomes apparent that the main character Farquhar has imagined the third part during the time he was falling through the bridge and breaking his neck. The third chapter covers several days while in fact only a couple of seconds passed. The story suffers greatly because of the structure vagueness.

Plot and Themes

The stories are not similar in plot. “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” is more philosophical. Probably only the first chapter presents the true story while the rest is imagined. The second chapter is an insight into the past while the last one shows the imagined future Farquhar would never have. Farquhar is hanged but the last seconds of his life makes him happy. The plot is twisted but the jumps in time are vital to uncovering the major theme – love. The plot of “The Jolly Corner” is absolutely different. The main character is not put to any suffering and he is not killed. However, both men live through the most difficult moments of their lives: Farquhar encounters his death and Brydon his own self. “The Jolly Corner” does not revolve around the theme of love, however, it becomes the final happy point of the story – Alice accepts him as he is. In addition, both stories are about unlived lives. It is not clear whether Brydon has died and the happy ending is the result of his imagination as it happened in the story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”.

In conclusion, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” and “The Jolly Corner” may not compare in plot lines, but stories are very similar in themes. “The Jolly Corner” is organized chronologically but the reader never learns whether or not the main character died. “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” presents the story of a man who is hanging but the final seconds of his life give him a chance to live a life he will never have. Both stories are philosophical and explore the inner world of humans.

References

Ambrose Bierce “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”.

Henry James “The Jolly Corner”.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 5). Ambrose Bierce and Henry James Works Comparison. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/ambrose-bierce-and-henry-james-works-comparison/

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 5). Ambrose Bierce and Henry James Works Comparison. https://studycorgi.com/ambrose-bierce-and-henry-james-works-comparison/

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"Ambrose Bierce and Henry James Works Comparison." StudyCorgi, 5 Dec. 2021, studycorgi.com/ambrose-bierce-and-henry-james-works-comparison/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Ambrose Bierce and Henry James Works Comparison." December 5, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/ambrose-bierce-and-henry-james-works-comparison/.


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StudyCorgi. "Ambrose Bierce and Henry James Works Comparison." December 5, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/ambrose-bierce-and-henry-james-works-comparison/.

References

StudyCorgi. 2021. "Ambrose Bierce and Henry James Works Comparison." December 5, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/ambrose-bierce-and-henry-james-works-comparison/.

References

StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Ambrose Bierce and Henry James Works Comparison'. 5 December.

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