Structure

The short story “Last Bridge Burned” by Ron Rash has a non-chronological structure.

The story begins in medias res, as a woman knocks at the door of a gas station shop: “When the woman knocked on the locked glass door a few minutes after midnight, Carlyle was startled…” (ll. 1-2). This helps make the readers curious as the woman is a stranger. Furthermore, the use of the word “startled” (l. 2) creates some suspense. Carlyle is taken by surprise and does not know the woman’s intentions. This is also suggested by Carlyle taking out a gun to protect himself in case something goes wrong (l. 10).

A change in tenses hints to readers that the story is not chronological. While the narrative begins in the past tense, the author soon suggests that the ...

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