Main Character In Owl Creek Bridge Story
Peyton Farquhar was a plantation owner, a slave owner, and a highly respected gentleman of the South. He loved the South with a burning passion and because of his love for the Confederacy, tried to join the army, but was turned down. Farquhar still did not give up. He was so driven, so motivated for the South and its cause. Although Farquhar wanted to serve the South, his hard determination turned into an unrealistic dream. He was characterized by an overconfidence that ultimately led to his death.
Farquhar’s devotion to the South was characterized by his risk-taking nature. This was originally caused by his rejection to become a soldier for the South. Farquhar would do absolutely anything to help the South during the war. This is shown when he tried to burn the railroad bridge that the Yankees were working on. He knew it would result in death if he was caught, but he did it anyway. The “dreaminess” is seen each time Farquhar thought he was able to do anything for the South if he tried. Ultimately, he was wrong.
Farquhar was sitting on a bench with his wife on their plantation when a soldier rode up. He asked for water, and while Mrs. Farquhar got some water, the two men spoke. The soldier told Farquhar that his army was repairing the railroads and were getting ready for another advance at Owl Creek Bridge. As he asked questions about the position of the picket post and sentinel, Farquhar was, in his mind, putting together a plan to help the Confederate army. Here his passion to help the South is demonstrated. They continued speaking, and the soldier told Farquhar that if one passed the picket post and sentinel, he could set the bridge on fire with the dry driftwood that had settled under the bridge during a flood the previous winter. At this, Farquhar’s plan was spelled out for him. He was determined to help the South in any way possible; thus, he seized this opportunity though it meant death. He did not even know whether his plan would succeed, but because he thought he was a great help to the Confederate army, he tried hard to accomplish what he thought he could.
Farquhar’s unrealistic dreaming is also seen when he is in the process of being hung. Because he felt so passionate about the South and was willing to die for it, he imagined himself doing that which was realistically improbable—escaping the noose to further assist in a Confederate victory in the war. Farquhar was hung, and as he died, he slowly envisioned the rope breaking and himself falling into the creek. He starts drowning, and then after his senses come back, he is swimming to the surface, gasping for air, as he finds himself being shot at by Yankee soldiers on the bridge. He tries to swim down the creek to escape from being shot and succeeds. Farquhar then imagined himself going home to his wife, just as he finally blacked out and his dream was no more. Farquhar’s seeming reality had been too far-fetched, and instead of facing the truth of not being able to survive to help the South, he died for his actions.
Farquhar believed wholeheartedly, that he was, even though not physically, a Confederate soldier when, in fact, he was not at all. His devotion led to his risk-taking. His risk-taking was too much, and he died because of it.
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