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"The Horseman in the Sky" by Ambrose Bierce has many meanings in the title that makes it such an intriguing story.

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Introduction

"The Horseman in the Sky" by Ambrose Bierce has many meanings in the title that makes it such an intriguing story. The title can mean any of four things if not all of them: a silhouette of a horseman on a cliff, the actual falling of the horseman from the cliff, the hypothetical meaning of Mr. Druse falling from heaven, and the irony of how Carter just called his father a horseman. The last of the four is ironic because to Carter, his father in war is just another soldier. It seemed like he didn't even acknowledge that the horseman is his father. The hypothetical meaning is after Carter kills his dad, and the falling of his dad could have been like an angel coming down from heaven. Carter Druse lives in Virginia with his mom and dad. One day a Union regiment comes down, and Carter decides to join it. His father being a true Virginian, says, "go sir, and whatever may occur do what you conceive to be your duty. ...read more.

Middle

Carter starts to go "pale; he shook in every limb,[and] turned faint"(30) as he saw that the horseman was his father. This is where we see "the horseman in the sky" for the first time. It is the silhouette of a man on a horse atop a hill. Carter is looking up at the horseman, so it literally means that sees a horseman in the sky. He is shaken up because he is about to shoot his father, but he remembers "as if they were a divine mandate, rang the words of his father at their parting: 'Whatever may occur, do what you conceive to be your duty.'" This calmed Carter and he fired. After Carter hits his target, the horseman falls over as anyone would do if shot standing at the edge of the cliff. Carter feeling dizzy from the altitude and the fact that he just killed his dad, " saw an astonishing sight- a man on horseback riding strait down into the valley through the air!" ...read more.

Conclusion

If he didn't care, he would have fired immediately. The title of the "horseman in the sky" has many meanings. From being just a silhouette looked up upon, the actual falling of the group, and how a son would refer his father as. The irony of how Carter refers to his dad as just a horseman shows in his thought which cleared his mind. He remembers how his dad told him to do what he conceived to be his duty. We won't know whether or not Carter would have shot his dad if this did not pop into his head. Carter's duty was to shoot the enemy spy, and that is what he did. The silhouette seems to be in the sky because of its location on the edge of a cliff. The actual falling of the group was perceived by Carter to be amazing and terrifying. When Carter returned to camp and had time to think about what he just did, he can be at ease now that he can look back upon his father as truly being "the horseman in the sky." ...read more.

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