Bierce uses figurative language—the opposite of literal language, in which every word is truthful, accurate, and free of exaggeration—to enhance the emotional impact of his story. He uses figurative language most extensively in the third section to give clues to the reader that Farquhar is hallucinating and becoming increasingly disoriented. In this section, the narrator's language is often melodramatic. For example, when Farquhar is in the river, fighting to break the rope around his wrists, the narrator declares: "What splendid effort!" and "What superhuman strength!" Additionally, the surroundings are described in the minutest detail, suggesting that Farquhar could not possibly be experiencing what is being described.