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Word Count: 659
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is set in the South during the Civil War One afternoon Peyton Farquhar and his wife receive an unexpected visitor He is a soldier on horseback bringing news that persuades Peyton to burn a newly constructed Federal railroad bridge across Owl Creek Unknown to Peyton the soldier is in actuality a Federal scout Peyton is caught before he can complete his mission and finds himself about to be hung Without any emotion the soldiers of a single Federal company watch as preparations are made for the execution In a fit of panic he develops a plan to break free throw off the noose and jump into the water below escaping to the safety of home But it is too late as the captain nods to the sergeant and he steps off the plank The plank tilts and Peyton falls through the bridge timbers The fall does not break his neck but nearly suffocates him as he struggles free himself from the rope He jumps into the water breaks free of the rope around his wrists and swims to the surface Peyton climbs the bank of the creek and hides in the woods All day he travels and as morning nears Peyton finds himself at the front of his plantation He sees his wife As they near Peyton reaches out for her Peyton Farquhar is dead The characters and setting of this story are important for many reasons First they give us a true idea of what life was like back in the Civil War era The desire to help a side involved in the conflict meant risking life and death The heroism of Peyton raises many questions in us of whether his actions were right or wrong They force us to examine our own moral values and make a choice of sides The solemn nature of the soldiers conveys the atmosphere and gravity of the situation
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