White Hands

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 "Mrs. Farquhar was only too happy to serve him with her own white hands (319)." 

I was surprised and upset by the responses I read for An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.  I don't believe the author ever intended the reader to question Peyton Farquhar's soul.  Farquhar's family may have owned slaves and fought for the Confederate army, but the background information was not meant to convince the reader he deserved to hang.  The author makes it clear that he is a good man when he writes, "The liberal military code makes provisions for hanging many kinds of persons, and gentlemen are not excluded.  In part II, the author shows that Mrs. Farquhar is not an evil, prejudice woman when he writes, "Mrs. Farquhar was only too happy to serve him with her own white hands."  The descriptive statement shows readers that the gray clad soldier was African-American.  Farquhar's wife did not hesitate to be generous and courteous to him because of his skin color.  The author goes onto describe his good features, kindly expression, loyalty to his homeland, and love for his wife and children.  Jumping to the conclusion that Farquhar felt such pain in his last moments because the devil was tormenting him for his sins insults the beauty of the prose piece and American history.

To read Aja's article, click here!






Carissa Altizer said:

I'm glad we talked about this in class. I can definitely see now that there isn't enough evidence to prove that the scout was black. It makes me kind of sad though...I thought I found a good point that nobody had picked up on in earlier readings. Oh, well, I guess this proves I need to work on my close reading skills.

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Carissa Altizer on White Hands: I'm glad we talked about this