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 took for Peyton to fall to his death, this man hallucinated about a great, incredible escape, only to die in the end with a pitiful death.
Why was Peyton Farquhar so calm facing death? Why was his expression the way it was? It’s because he knew that this end was going to happen and accepted the consequences. Peyton stood resolutely on the spot of his execution. When describing Peyton, the story says “his features were good”, this describes him as an ordinary man, and most importantly, the story also said, “[He] had a kindly expression which one would hardly have expected in one whose neck was in the hemp.” This shows how Farquhar wore a seemingly apathetic expression. But why?
He seems to accept that that was the end for him. Yes, his consequences brought him to death, but his face and attitude show how he knows it, but has a higher view point than this, something greater is in the working; he was only a little piece of the puzzle. He must have known that interfering with the plans of the north would amount to something terrible. How could he not? The north and south are at war in the United States. Sabotaging each other’s plans is what these civilians, like Peyton Farquhar, do to be a part of their war. How could they...