Bierce starts his story of a man who was about to be hung from Owl Creek Bridge. Farquhar was a well-to-do planter, from an old and highly respected Alabama family. Being a slave owner as well as a politician, he was naturally an original secessionist and very devoted to the southern cause. No adventure too perilous for him to undertake if consistent with the charter of a civilian who had the heart of a soldier (Bierce 2). Farquhar finds himself with the hemp rope tied around his neck standing on the Owl Creek Bridge with the Federal army. Farquhar’s face had not been covered nor his eyes bandaged and he looked at his unsteady footing, then let his gaze wander to the swirling water of the stream beneath his feet. He closed his eyes to gather his last thoughts of his wife and children when he became conscious of a new noise. The sounds became loud and gathered strength and sharpness like a death knell. It hurt his ears like a thrust of the knife; he feared he would shriek but what he was hearing was the ticking of his watch. He closed his eyes again and could picture the water beneath his feet. He was thinking, “If I could free my hands, I might throw off the noose and spring into the stream...
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...denote “god” and/or “peace” yet the fact that it is “blinding” could infer finality. This also ponders the idea of our reality is ours alone, created by us with our own perceptions.
It is very clear that Bierce used these themes to help tell the story of Farquhar at the hangman’s noose in an almost dream like quality. To Farquhar, trying to get free to make it back to his wife and children, was his primary urge. To him, feeling the ripple of water upon his face, seeing the individual trees and leaves, were his final sensory pleasures. Farquhar thought of the sand as diamonds and rubies, emeralds, he could think of nothing more beautiful. After reading the story, the reader finds Farquhar to be dead at the beginning there was no struggle to get free, no battle, and no traveling back home to his wife and children, only death. This is the fate that awaits us all.
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