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  • Titill er á ensku Fortitude in the Face of Adversity. Irony in Ambrose Bierce’s short story “A Horseman in the Sky” .
  • Bakkalár
  • Útdráttur er á ensku

    This B.A. thesis examines Ambrose Bierce’s use of irony in portraying the struggle between patriotism and familial duty in his short story “The Horseman in the Sky” published in The Examiner in 1889. Bierce made some minor changes to the story and when it was republished in 1892 he had also changed the name to “A Horseman in the Sky.” The changes he made alter the readers understanding of the protagonist’s character and this thesis will discuss how a minor difference in portraying a character can lead to a completely different reading. In the case of Carter Druse, the protagonist in the story, this minor change concerns what drives him to perform the act of parenticide. The difference between these two versions is examined in relation to Bierce’s own experience in the Civil War, which definitely inspired his writing. In the original version, Druse is driven insane, but in the revised version he keeps his sanity. The story revolves around three main events: Druse’s enlistment in the Union army, his parting from his father and mother, and finally, his decision to shoot his father. Bierce’s use of irony is also discussed, and how he employs it to add to the effect he aims to draw forth. His intention to show the utter futility of the Civil War is analyzed in relation to his known sarcasm and dark mood which earned him the name “Bitter Bierce.” To show how deceptive his style can be, examples from three critics, who are in disagreement on how to interpret Carter Druse’s character, is brought forward, and narratology is used as a theory to examine Bierce’s unique narrative approach. Examples from other war stories he wrote are also used to show his determination to expose the senselessness of the American Civil War.

  • 10.5.2012

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