5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 19 December 2011
This is a short novella of about 90 pages, but it is a fantastic 90 pages. The story is in the form a series of diary style entries where the central character Ambrosius records the events that are unfolding around him. The dairy entries made by Ambrosius express his hope and joy and wonder of all the things that surround him and his confidence that God has created a wonderful world. I couldn't help feel someone infected by that optimism as I read. Despite this apparent hopeful naivety Bierce does not fall into the trap of making Ambrosius blind to himself and his own animal passions. It is the fact that Ambrosius does not naively follow the superior's instruction to shun the hangman's daughter and that Ambrosius is aware that he has more earthly feelings for the hangman's daughter that leads him into unpleasant situations and the prideful certainty of the goodness of his own actions. This makes for a more convincing end when things come to a head at the end of the novel.