A Horseman in the Sky

Druse’s Father Character Analysis

Carter Druse’s father is a wealthy Virginian and a Confederate officer in the Civil War. At the end of the story, Druse’s father is also revealed to be the eponymous horseman whom his son has shot down. Druse’s father is described as a man who believes in duty and has instilled such a virtue into his son. On the day that Carter Druse leaves to join the Union Army, Druse’s father tells him that although he is a traitor to his Virginia homeland, he should go and do what he feels is his duty to the best of his ability, and that should they both live to see the end of the war, they will speak again. Druse’s father is heartbroken at the parting of ways with his son and clearly loved and respected him very much. Druse’s father comes to exemplify the horrors of the Civil War in two ways. There is the obvious tragedy of a son and father pitted against each other in war. After the shot has been fired and Druse’s father and his horse are falling through the air, he is mistaken for a supernatural warrior, a horseman of the apocalypse by the wandering officer. Druse’s father thus also becomes a vessel for the author’s oft-used supernatural imagery and the implications of near-biblical violence and devastation of the war.

Druse’s Father Quotes in A Horseman in the Sky

The A Horseman in the Sky quotes below are all either spoken by Druse’s Father or refer to Druse’s Father. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Duty, Morality, and Justice Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Thrift Editions edition of A Horseman in the Sky published in 1994.
Part 2 Quotes

“Well, go, sir, and whatever may occur do what you conceive to be your duty.”

Related Characters: Druse’s Father (speaker), Carter Druse
Related Symbols: The Horseman
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

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The duty of the soldier was plain: the man must be shot dead from ambush—without warning, without a moment’s spiritual preparation, with never so much as an unspoken prayer, he must be sent to his account.

Related Characters: Carter Druse , Druse’s Father
Related Symbols: The Horseman
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

Druse withdrew his eyes from the valley and fixed them again upon the group of man and horse in the sky, and again it was through the sights of his rifle. But this time his aim was at the horse … Duty had conquered; the spirit said to the body: “Peace, be still.” He fired.

Related Characters: Carter Druse , Druse’s Father
Related Symbols: The Horseman
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Part 4 Quotes

“Did you fire?” the sergeant whispered.
“Yes.”
“At what?”
“A horse. It was standing on yonder rock—pretty far out. You see it is no longer there. It went over the cliff.”
The man’s face was white, but he showed no other sign of emotion. Having answered, he turned his eyes away and said no more. The sergeant did not understand.
“See here, Druse,” he said after a moment’s silence, it’s no use making a mystery. I order you to report. Was there anybody on the horse?”
“Yes.”
“Well?”
“My father.”
The sergeant rose to his feet and walked away. “Good God!” he said.

Related Characters: Carter Druse (speaker), The Sergeant (speaker), Druse’s Father
Related Symbols: The Horseman
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Druse’s Father Character Timeline in A Horseman in the Sky

The timeline below shows where the character Druse’s Father appears in A Horseman in the Sky. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2
Duty, Morality, and Justice Theme Icon
Sons vs. Fathers Theme Icon
The Horrors of the Civil War Theme Icon
Druse’s father solemnly replied, “Well, go, sir, and whatever may occur do what you conceive to be... (full context)
Duty, Morality, and Justice Theme Icon
Sons vs. Fathers Theme Icon
The Horrors of the Civil War Theme Icon
...Druse takes aim again, but this time aims at the horse rather than the rider. Druse’s father ’s admonition, “Whatever may occur do what you conceive to be your duty,” echoes in... (full context)
Part 4
Duty, Morality, and Justice Theme Icon
Sons vs. Fathers Theme Icon
The Horrors of the Civil War Theme Icon
...emotion. When the sergeant inquires who was on the horse, he reveals that it was Druse’s father. (full context)