While Farquhar is standing on the bridge with a rope around his neck, Bierce leads the reader to think that the rope snaps and he falls into the river, and then makes an amazing escape and finally returns to his farm, to be reunited with his wife.
However the ending of the story is totally different, in fact, Farquhar is hanged and these imaginings take place seconds before his death.
The reason for this type of narration in the first section of the story is to get the readers curiosity going.
One wonders what Peyton Farquhar could have done to be hanged; was he alone in what he did, why is he involved in a military issue when he is a civilian?
Ambrose Bierce's trick ending succeeds because of the way he manipulated the text by changing the narrative point of view from one type to another.
"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" is divided into three sections, with each section having a different narrative form.
He imposes his presence between the reader and the story and controls all the events.
From an outside point of view, the narrator provides enough information to summarize, interpret and wonder....
"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge", is one of the best American short stories and is considered Ambrose Bierce's greatest work.
First published in Bierce's short story collection "Tales of Soldiers and Civilians" in 1891, this story is about Peyton Farquhar, a southern farmer who is about to be hanged by the Union Army for trying to set the railroad bridge at Owl Creek on fire.