What does Farquhar imagine in the story's last section?

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dneshan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The three sections of “An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge” are out of the order in which they happen.  In the third section of the story Peyton Farquahar first imagines that the rope that is hanging him has broken and he falls into the water below the bridge; with the noose still around his neck, he is able to loosen his hands and then free his neck from the noose.  He then looks around to see the soldiers who are on the bridge getting ready to shoot at him.  Farquahar then imagines that he swims as fast as he can through the bullets that are passing him in the water until he finally reaches a shore.  Once there, he imagines that he is seeing everything around him and describes everything as if it is spinning.  Finally, he imagines that he is running through the woods and eventually comes upon his house where his wife is waiting outside for him.  When he imagines that he is about to kiss his wife, the reader is brought back to the reality that Farquahar never fell from the bridge into the water but that the entire scenario that is described in the third section was all imagined and he was really dead, hanging on the Owl Creek Bridge.

ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Peyton's last thought was that he had arrived home to his wife and children. At that moment, Peyton's body reached the end of the rope, his neck was probably broken, and he was dead. He had imagined the rope breaking and his subsequent escape during the time it took when "the sergeant stepped aside" until he body fell and was hung at the end of a rope above the Owl Creek Bridge.

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An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

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