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One of the Missing

Ambrose Bierce was an American newspaperman and author of short stories. Known for his satirical wit and sardonic view of human nature, he earned the nickname "Bitter Bierce." Ambrose Bierce is perhaps most famous for his serialized mock lexicon, The Devil's Dictionary, in which, over the years, he scathed American culture and accepted wisdom by pointing out alternate, more practical definitions for common words. One of the Missing was first published in The San Francisco Examiner on March 11, 1888, and was reprinted in Tales of Soldiers and Civilians in 1891. The story is set in the American Civil War. Jerome Searing is an orderly for the Union Army. His general sends him on a mission to scout ahead and makes sure that there are no surprises waiting for them. This is a typical mission for Jerome and he takes delight and care in scouting ahead. Jerome comes upon a plantation and can see the Confederate Army in retreat. He takes aim to shoot one of them but at the same time, a captain far offshoots a cannon at the structure that Jerome is hiding in. When Jerome comes to, he is partially buried in the debris and finds himself incapable of moving his body because of the way the debris covers him. The irony so central to Bierce’s style is established immediately in One of the Missing. The major source of his irony is the gap between what the character knows and what the reader knows. You can listen online to free English audiobook “One of the Missing” by Ambrose Bierce on our website. Enjoy it!

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