An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

Farquhar’s Wife Character Analysis

Farquhar’s wife never actually enters the story. She and their children are conjured in Farquhar’s mind in the moments before his hanging, however, and become more symbol than character in the process. Nevertheless, Bierce spares a few sentences describing her for the reader. She’s pictured as beautiful and feminine, “with a smile of ineffable joy, an attitude of matchless grace and dignity.” Bierce use terms of purity and matronly comfort—seen through Farquhar’s eyes and driving him on after his supposed escape. Yet she too, is seen as a part of the same Southern society that Farquhar risks execution to save. When the Union spy arrives at their doorstep, she is “only too happy to serve him with her own white hands.” That suggests that she’s not accustomed to waiting on people—an aristocrat—and that most of her servants are black (and presumably slaves). Like her husband, she belongs to the Confederacy, and all her good manners still serve the corrupt institutions the Confederacy is trying to protect.

Farquhar’s Wife Quotes in An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

The An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge quotes below are all either spoken by Farquhar’s Wife or refer to Farquhar’s Wife. 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:
Confinement and Escape Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Thrift Editions edition of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge published in 1994.
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Quotes

He closed his eyes in order to fix his last thought upon his wife and children.

Related Characters: Peyton Farquhar, Farquhar’s Wife
Related Symbols: Farquhar’s Family
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mrs. Farquhar was only too happy to serve him with her own white hands.

Related Characters: Farquhar’s Wife, Union Soldiers
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:
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Farquhar’s Wife Character Timeline in An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

The timeline below shows where the character Farquhar’s Wife appears in An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
The Civil War Theme Icon
...Confederate uniform rides up to Farquhar’s home and asks for a drink of water. While Farquhar’s wife gets the water, he and the soldier converse about the war. The soldier reveals that... (full context)
Confinement and Escape Theme Icon
The Civil War Theme Icon
Perception and Reality Theme Icon
...shifts, and Farquhar stands at the front gate of his home. As he moves forward, his wife comes out of the family’s house to greet him. Just as he is about to... (full context)