Show MoreThe writing style of Ambrose Bierce can simply be described as bitter. Almost all of his stories had some sort of irony or plot twist that made his stories interesting. Events in his life have shaped his view on the world. This viewpoint extends into his writing when he looks at the bitter side of the world in most of his stories and also the aspect of death. In the stories An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and A Watcher by the Dead, he uses irony and examines death. Along with his patented irony, Bierce uses death in many of his popular stories, possibly as a wish for himself. His lonely and tragic life caused him to be the bitter writer we know today. Ambrose Gwinett Bierce was born on June 24, 1842 in a log cabin in Meigs…show more content…
Journalism became important for him after he started writing columns for the Argonaut and the News Letter, which he later became the editor of. In 1871, when he was twenty-nine years old, he married the daughter of a forty-niner, Mary Ellen Day. He then moved with his wife to London in 1872, where he had two sons. He worked for local newspapers where he adopted a type of journalistic style, which earned him the name “Bitter Bierce.” This time in London had little significance in his literary career (Fadiman XIII). In 1876 Bierce and family moved back to San Francisco after his health had failed. He then began working at the Argonaut again and also started writing for the Wasp and Sunday Examiner. It was during this time that he started writing stories. In the early nineteen hundreds, Bierce’s life was marked by tragedy and failure. In 1889, his oldest son was killed in a shooting brawl over a girl and in 1901 his youngest son died of alcoholism. In 1904 his wife of thirty-three years divorced him and left. This period of great misfortune led Bierce to an overwhelmingly dreary outlook on life (Fadiman XIII). In 1913 Bierce wrote his last letter to his daughter on December twenty-sixth, after which he was never heard from again. There are many possible theories as to what may have happened to him after he disappeared. Some of the more obscure hypotheses include his becoming a spy in
Ambrose Bierce is considered one of the great American writers, ranked with Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. He was renowned for his wit and his wide literary talents, encompassing satire, horror, literary criticism, and journalism.
Bierce was born on June 24, 1842 to Marcus Aurelius Bierce and Laura Sherwood Bierce. He was the tenth of thirteen children, all of whom received names beginning with the letter A. Though never close to his family, their extensive library did ignite the spark of literary ambition in the young Bierce.
At the age of fifteen, he became a printer's devil at a small Ohio newspaper. He later joined the Union army during the Civil War, participating in a large number of battles and gaining first-hand experience of the horrors of war, a theme that would emerge in his later writing. He was seriously wounded in the head during the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain in 1864, and suffered from complications from this wound for the rest of his life.
He married Mary Ellen "Mollie" Day in 1871, and the couple had three children: Day, Leigh, and Helen. Two of the children died before Bierce, Day from suicide and Leigh from pneumonia. Bierce and his wife divorced in 1904.
Well-known for his biting political analysis and satire, especially as exemplified in The Devil's Dictionary (a dictionary offering new and sarcastic definitions of common terms), Bierce also wrote a succession of eerie stories set mostly in the American frontier from 1888 and 1901. These proved foundational for later horror writers, including HP Lovecraft and Stephen King.
The official date of Bierce's death is unknown. In 1913, he traveled to Mexico during the revolution in order to see the situation on the ground for himself. He is said to have traveled with Pancho Villa's army to the city of Chihuahua. Perhaps fittingly for a writer famous for his eerie stories and shocking twists, his last letter concluded, "As to me, I leave here tomorrow for an unknown destination."
His most famous short story, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," in which a captured Civil War solider hallucinates that he has traveled through time, has been adapted in various mediums, including as a television episode of The Twilight Zone. Many of his short stories have been made into short films or episodes of ongoing television series.