Ron Rash’s “Last Bridge Burned” only has two characters, strangers to each other who have a brief encounter. The main character is Carlyle, whose perspective the story follows. The other character is a mysterious woman who comes knocking at Carlyle’s store door one night. Carlyle ends up helping her, although he is suspicious at first. 

It is notable that both Carlyle and the woman are similar in that they have experienced significant hardships in their lives. However, their stories end very differently, as Carlyle resigns himself to an uneventful life, while the woman rises to fame and fortune.

You can read a full characterization of Carlyle and the woman in the following pages.