What is the perception vs. reality in "My Kinsman Major Molineux"? What is the different between a romantic story like "My Kinsman Major Molineux" and a realistic story like "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"?
Robin Molineux, the main character, comes to the city to seek his kinsman, who he hopes will help him get established in business. Although his reception by the townspeople is unfriendly, Robin remains oblivious to the animosity he encounters. His perception of the situation is colored by a blithe lack of sophistication, and he is unable to see the reality that something sinister is going on.
When Robin sees the Major tarred, feathered, and ridden out of town by the angry denizens, he decides not to stay in the city after all. With an optimism typical of the romantic school of thought, however, he is encouraged to remain, under the belief that he can establish himself in the city without his kinsman's help.
Robin Molineux and Peyton Farquhar, the main character in "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge", have a similarly trusting and naive perception of the world. Molineux enters a strange city thinking his reception will be positive and the people he encounters have innocuous reasons for their treatment of him. Farquhar believes what the soldier who comes to his door tells him about the Union Army and the Owl Creek Bridge, unquestioningly doubting neither his identity nor his sincerity. In the romantic story, there is still hope for Molineux despite his innocent callowness, but in the realistic work, the consequence for Farquhar is death.