An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
Rising Action: At this time, Peyton is dropped from the bridge with a rope tied tightly around his neck only for him to heroically escape from his attempted execution. The executioners begin to panic and start shooting at Peyton as he begins to swim down the river away from the bridge. Once Peyton reaches the shore he begins to run home through the woods to his family.
Climax: Finally, Peyton reaches his home and runs into his wife's embrace. Suddenly, Peyton feels a sharp pain in his neck and sees a bright, white light surround him. Peyton Farquhar was dead and his time in the river, woods, and with his wife was all an attempt to escape the reality of his death.
Falling Action and Resolution: Because Peyton never reached his family and never actually escaped his hanging and died in the end, I did not see a falling action or a resolution. I do not think that Peyton dying resolved the story.
Peyton is the protagonist in this story. Through many examples of direct characterization, I was able to gather a solid understanding of what he was like as a person. A few of the many adjectives used to describe Peyton are humble, adventurous, respected, and devoted to cause. "No service was too humble for him to perform in aid of the South, no adventure too perilous for him to undertake if consistent with the character of a civilian who was at heart a soldier" (14). In this story Peyton goes through the hardships of accepting his reality and understanding the end of the road is drawing near.
Federal Scout (Soldier)
This soldier was sent to trick Peyton Farquhar into burning one of the bridges so he would later be hung for his crime. He told Peyton that it would help the Southern cause greatly and because of this Peyton believed him and went to try and burn the bridge but was caught. This man was not a large part of the story in terms of writing and detail but he was a huge part of the conflict, if not the cause of it. From context, the soldier seems like an ordinary man fighting for his home cause, "He was a grey-clad soldier.." (14).
Peyton Farquhar's executioners are a group of four men from the Federal army. "Directed by a sergeant who in a civil life may have been a deputy sheriff."(11) The group of soldiers consists of a captain, sergeant, and two privates. From examples of characterization we can tell that these soldiers are highly respectful toward their superiors, "The sergeant turned turned to the captain, saluted, and placed himself immediately behind that officer" (12).