Materials: Copies of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce, pens, pencils, paper


  • Students will analyze the elements of fiction
  • Students will analyze and identify organizational structure and point of view and evaluate their impact on the text
  • Students will provide textual evidence to support their response to the text

ineffable, interminable, malign oscillate, prismatic, stockade, traverse, undulation


1. Review the previous lesson on "An Episode of War," by Stephen Crane, asking students to recall the main events in the story and the structure. If you posted their storyboards on the walls, refer to some of them.

2. Ask students to recall a popular children's tale, such as "The Three Little Pigs." Ask a volunteer to tell the story to the class. Then, ask the students to brainstorm other points of view from which the story could be told. Write their ideas on a chalkboard or overhead projector. (This may also be a good time to review personal pronouns.)

3. Explain that "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" is told in third person omniscient and that the point-of-view has an interesting effect on the way the story is told.

4. Read "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" as a class. Ask students to write the names and descriptions of all characters on a separate sheet of paper as they read. Ask students to consider how the structure of the story is different from that of "An Episode of War" and other stories they have read.

5. When students have finished reading, divide them into groups of three. Ask them to choose a character and reconstruct the story from that character's point of view.

6. Present to class.


The point-of-view paper can be evaluated for completion, comprehension and form.

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