Bierce & Harte

The readings for this week were interesting and different. What I struggled with mostly this week was that I read everything so quickly in the beginning part of the week, worked on parts of my homework, then went on a three-day vacation where I nearly forgot most of it, then came back yesterday to try and catch back up. However, I learned a lot about my interpretation of the readings with that gap there in the middle. When I came back and read through all of the responses, it occurred to me that I was missing some of the most essential points. For example, in the Harte piece “The Outcasts of Poker Flat”, I was distracted by the constant change in dialect. But when I came back from my mini-vacation, I realized that it wasn’t as I thought it had been, I was completely overlooking to the progression of the narrator in the piece. When I read that for the first time, I was interacting with the narrator as the same as Mr. Oakhurst, which is obviously not the case. This story is actually much better and more enlightening to me now that I realize this immature and redundant mistake I had made. Unfortunately, I was in such a hurry when I was reading it and trying to get my work done, that I completely missed this.

The Bierce piece on the other hand, was one that I thoroughly enjoyed and read through a few times before I wrote any responses. This allowed me to think through it as thoroughly as I could and put a lot of thought into my responses. If only I had done the same with both of them, I might not have made such a dreadful mistake. But the important thing is that I have learned something valuable about the reading and of myself, is it not? What I enjoyed most of all about “The Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” was the truthfulness of imminent death. This is something that so many people are afraid of and are unwilling to comprehend. Not only because of the physical pains they will endure, but the loss of our loved ones and leaving people behind; leaving things behind that we have cherished throughout our lives. Yet, Bierce was not afraid of this and wrote about a dramatic escape from imminent death and the reuniting of the character with his family. At this point, Bierce is bold and to the point, with no hold barred he plainly tells the reader that Peyton is dead. There is no happy ending, there is only death. I appreciated this honesty that Bierce was able to put into his work; it is a true example of Realism.

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