Peyton Farquar in The Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge

How many people would truly die for another person? Or harder yet, die for a cause? Many would say no, the task is too difficult, it’s too much to ask a person to do. And who can blame those who believe that? After all, death is absolutely final and irreversible, to die for an idea might seem like a complete impossibility. But there are a selective few who would bravely do what they believe right, even when the consequences may be terrible.

Rosa Parks is an amazing example of standing up for the cause. She knew she was supposed to hand over her seat to a white man. She knew that the aftermath of such an act at that time was punishable by jail time. And she did it anyway, for the dream of equal rights to all, no matter the race, color, religion, age, gender etc.

In our story The Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, we are given another perfect example. Peyton Farquhar, the victim of the tale, is one of those people who’ve received the judgment and consequences from another who deemed themselves right and superior over him. In this story, the aftermath of a regular man brings him to his death all to quickly, and we can only understand his thoughts and emotion through an author who clearly understands the demands of war.

Ambrose Bierce himself was a veteran of war and knew the feeling of fighting for one’s morals, standards, and beliefs, willing to put down his life for a higher cause–whether others understood it or not.

During the Civil War, after being set up mercilessly to attempt to sabotage an apparently important bridge, Peyton Farquhar, a southern plantation owner and family man, was sentenced to death by hanging and stood on the solemn Owl Creek Bridge, waiting for the black hour of his demise. In the few seconds it too...

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...elieve it’s safe to say countless of people are that hopelessly drunk man who begged for death but automatically protects himself from destruction. It’s only human, after all.

Since we can connect to this emotion of Peyton, can’t we also say that we fight for a higher cause? Are we willing to do what it takes to defend whatever it is we regard as true and worth defense and protection?

To stand up for what’s important to someone is the subtle undercurrent of this story that Ambrose Bierce wrote, being a veteran of war himself. Clearly, this is something he really believes in. He tells us through the words of his story, What can one do but fight back death hopelessly? Peyton Farquhar fought back mentally, right under death’s nose. Why? Because he’s human. Human’s who can hate, love, want, reject. All emotion strong enough to make us fight, for whatever purpose.

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