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Peyton Furquher in Ambrose Bierces An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge pays the price for being a heroic and courageous citizen by being summarily sentenced to death. Peyton shows his courage by having the devotion for the south with an intention of destroying the bridge. Although he is aware that it might cost him his life and also at the sacrifice of his family members, he was willing to do that, Peyton is being hanged for attempting to burn the bridge.
The narrator vividly gives us a picture of the dilemma that Peyton is facing which symbolically shows us how he escaped death and was reborn right before he died. The author evokes sympathy from the reader for Peyton by showing the ultimate punishment he got.
Peyton was a planter from a respected Alabama family. He wanted to do something to slow the progress of the federal army through the south. He imagined himself to be a solider and accepted the brutal and lawless outlook of war, even as he sits behind the lines, even as a confederate solider receives drinks from the white hands of his wife.
The soldiers warned Peyton that if any civilian went to the bridge he would be hanged. The author pictures Peytons style of speech as self-consciously urbane and romantic in a bookish way, which defines his character. Peyton was very patriotic and loyal towards the south. His intentions were to destroy the bridge no matter what the consequences were. He knew that the consequences of his mission was death, yet he still chose to go through wit hit because of the pride that he must protect the south.
He was willing to risk all that he had, his family, his wife, his home and his comfortable life to do what he thinks has to be done.
Peyton was caught while interfering with the bridge and is being hanged for the crime. While he is hanged Peyton dreams of a miraculous escape, which makes him, fall in the river. The author uses symbolism to justify death when Peyton struggle for life under water because he was tied up and cant swim up. It became more obvious when the narrator describes that Peyton was still sinking further into the water as the light from above become fainter and fainter. The narrator also symbolizes the rebirth of Peyton, when Peyton finally manages to swim to surface of water fighting his was through. The dilemma, which the author presents to us, was actually going through Peytons mind when he was dying. All this took place in less than a second, probably less than a millisecond, but in his thoughts it lasted half a day and throughout the night until the next morning. Peyton dreams about making it to his home, where he sees his wife dressed in new clothes standing outside the house. As he runs up to her he felt a stunning pain upon the back of his neck. This is when he received the ultimate punishment-death.
Ambrose Bierce shows a tragedy of the civil war through the heroic effort of Peyton Farquhar, who in return for his bravery, is tricked and hanged shamefully. Peytons dream of escaping and finally reaching his main goal of being at home with his family becomes even more tragic when he is briefly shown as a dead body hanging from Owl Creek Bridge. Peyton Farquhar is a hero, not only because he attempts to destroy the bridge so that the federal army could not cross but because he steps out of his comfortable and safe role as a civilian to act as if it was his duty. Because of his brave and courageous act, he must give up all that he has and is sentences to death. As his bosy hangs simply beneath the Owl Creek Bridge. Peyton Farquhar became a tragic figure of the civil war.
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