Within the short story, the themes are developed especially with the concept of “giving it lightly”. As Peyton is introduced into the story the reader can visualize the surroundings and realize that this is not a good situation for him at all. It emphasizes the theme of a person’s actions resulting in their consequences. During the first few beginning paragraphs of the story, the author makes an understanding that there is no one around to help the main character. “Beyond one of the sentinels nobody was in sight; the railroad ran straight away from a forest for a hundred yards “(1). Peyton’s actions is eventually what brought him into his current dilemma and shows that there is no way he can escape his consequence. The author lets the reader know that the main character is well aware of his blunders by giving insight to his mind. Moreover, Bierce has a unique way to provide an insight throughout Peyton’s inner thoughts and it proves how much he is a caring and loved individual.
During his flashbacks we can see that he had a very loving family and was genuinely grateful and happy. This shows how his situation provides the theme that not everyone is what they seem they might be the complete opposite. In the story it explains that Peyton is well respected from all whonknow him (2). By understanding this, he is a civilian and is captured because he is known by only war enemies as a bad guy. Nevertheless, many aspects of the short story can be determined throughout Peyton’s mind and this is what brings the two themes together.
As the story continues, Peyton is showed to have been hiding for a while under water as we figure out sooner or later that he is reminencing about everything throughout his life while dreaming of escape. During this passage the author clearly emphasizes the theme of a person’s actions result in their consequences. “As he rose to the surface, gasping for breath, he saw that he had been a long time under water” (5). Here the author is showing that this is when Peyton is coming to the realization that he can no longer fix his wrong doings and eventually sits there wondering where he has went wrong. Many times a person may make mistakes and they do result in their consequences however people are not always what they seem.