Themes and message

Burning bridges 

Burning bridges is the main theme in Ron Rash’s short story “Last Bridge Burned”. Burning bridges means to destroy opportunities, relationships, or a certain life path, often intentionally. More specifically, it implies acting in a way that means you cannot go back to what you had before. This theme is first suggested through the title of the story, “Last Bridge Burned”, which has a different meaning for each of the two characters. 

For Carlyle, it means that there are no more things to destroy in his life. He already lost jobs and two wives due to alcohol problems. There is nothing left for him to burn, and he ends up living a steady but isolated life. In the woman’s case, the title reflects her decision to stop burning bridges and turn her life aroun...

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