Barn Burning By William Faulkn Essay Research

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Barn Burning By William Faulkn Essay, Research Paper A Critical Approach to Faulkner s Barn Burning In Barn Burning, by William Faulkner, a tenant farming family is forced to move after the father, Abner, set fire to his neighbor s barn. Abner did this in retaliation of the neighbor s keeping Abner s hog that kept getting in the neighbor s yard. This was the twelfth time in ten years that the family had to move due to Abner s fierce anger and vengeful acts. Upon their arrival at their new tenant farm, Abner and his youngest son, Sarty, take a stroll up to the main house to speak with the landowner, Major de Spain. When they arrived at the main house, Abner purposely stepped in manure before entering the house. He refused to wipe his feet even though he was told to do so. He

rubbed the manure in, staining the expensive rug, and refused to clean it. The Major then took Abner to court. Sarty, a ten-year-old boy, knew his father expected him to lie, and he was torn between remaining loyal to his father and doing what was right. The Justice of the Peace ordered Abner to repay the Major with ten bushels of corn from his crop. That night, in retaliation Abner decides to burn Major de Spain s barn. Abner Snopes was a hard man who expected his family to accept his beliefs, without question. He was a man full of bitterness and anger who felt it the right thing to do to take vengeance upon anyone who did him wrong. Sarty, his youngest son, dealt with an inner conflict of remaining loyal to his father and family ties and doing what was morally right. Sarty,

after much inner conflict, ran to warn de Spain of his father s intentions. He heard two gun shots and realized that his father had been killed. Instead of returning home, Sarty ran away and never looked back. He felt a little guilty, but mostly relieved that he was at last free of that lifestyle and the inner conflict. Throughout the story, Sarty was torn between his father s beliefs and doing what he felt was right. In the end he decided to do what was morally right which meant that he had to forsake his family. He willingly broke away from the oppressive conditions of his family and isolated himself from everything he had ever known. In Barn Burning , plot, character, setting, point of view, and symbolism all promote the development of the idea that when one is faced with a

difficult decision, that person should rely on his or her own values, not those of his or her family, to make the right choice. Faulkner s Barn Burning is a grievous story because it very clearly shows the classical struggle between the privileged and the unprivileged classes in the late nineteenth century after the Civil War. Time after time emotions of despair surface from both the protagonist and antagonist involved in the story. This story outlines one distinct protagonist and one distinct antagonist. The protagonist is Colonel Sartoris Snopes ( Sarty ), a ten-year-old boy, and the antagonist is his father Abner Snopes. Sarty, the protagonist, is surrounded by his father s antagonism. Abner Snopes is opposed to the social structure and the struggle that it imposed on him and

his family. Abner makes the decisions for his family though they may not always be right. In Oliver Billingslea s criticism, he states, What Abner Snopes has done is doing to his family is to stifle each member s individuality. His discipline is repressive, almost Puritanical (Billingslea 293). Abner battles against any authority. He does what he wants no matter what the consequences are. Sarty is Abner s only real fear. He realizes that Sarty is a good kid and will turn him in if he is given the chance. While fighting against authoritative figures, Abner is also battling Sarty and Sarty s good will. Sarty refers to Abner as being cut out of tin (Faulkner 149). He believes that Abner is cold, tough, and unwilling to bend for anything. He knows that Abner is set in his ways and