Essay on Survived By His Wife and Children

Essay on Survived By His Wife and Children

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Peyton Farquhar is the main character in Ambrose Bierce’s An Occurrence at Owl Creek, a narrative about Farquhar’s eventual hanging for his support of the confederate army during the civil war. The fractured nature of the narrative allows the plot to culminate at a one point where the final connection is made. Peyton Farquhar’s eventual death allows for a window into his final moments on earth as a living being. Moving through his mind alongside him as he escapes death and makes his way through the woods to his wife and children illustrates Farquhar’s unwavering faithfulness to his family, even when facing death. His duty to support his family is both consciously and unconsciously his first priority. His escape was not just an attempt at survival driven by human instinct, but rather a commitment to return to his beloved family, the first priority of Farquhar’s life. A commitment so strong that his will to return to his family surpasses all logic and basic instinct even when it is solely a construct of the mind. One of Farquhar’s strongest feelings, his abhorrence for the Union army, does not enter his mind during his escape. This is especially remarkable since this group is responsible for permanently removing Farquhar from his family’s life. This is evident in Farquhar’s final thoughts before being hanged, his only apparent reason for escape, returning home to his family, and the journey he perseveres through to return home before his true fate is revealed.
The conventional belief is that anyone facing imminent death uses his or her final moment to think about those who mean the most in his or her life. While this is nearly impossible confirm, it seems that the overwhelming finality of death would render any subsequent...


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... from his family, is not present in his construction. The plot of the narrative is not in chronological order. Therefore, the fate of the person is evident before his true character is revealed. The evidence for this claim is apparent in Farquhar’s last thoughts before being hanged by the Union army. Also, his motivation, to return to his wife and children, further makes this argument clear. Lastly, the thirty miles Farquhar travels after being so close to death proves further that his dedication to family surpasses his instinct. The realistic construct of a reality in which Farquhar escapes and is reunited with his family illustrates abiding desire for the most meaningful part of his life, his family.


Works Cited
Bierce, Ambrose. “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Nina Baym. New York: Norton, 2008. 300-306.

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