Term Paper on Barn Burning

This essay has a total of 1039 words and 4 pages.

Barn Burning


The story is about blood ties, but more specifically, how these ties affect Sarty. The
story examines the internal conflict and dilemma that Sarty faces. When the story begins,
Sarty and his family are in a courtroom. Sarty, known in a proper setting as Colonel
Sartoris, which in itself gives an insight into the families mentality. Sarty's father,
Abner Snopes is being accused of a barn burning. Right away, as Sarty is called to
testify, you get an idea of what is going through the boy's head, and the mentality that
has been pounded in him. He thinks to himself, Enemy! Enemy!, referring to the people that
his father and his family for that matter are up against. Sarty would later discover that
things are not always the way that his father likes him to think. Sarty, somewhere deep
down wants to just do what is right, but being roughly 10 years old, I don't think he
quite has that figured out yet. His sense of right and wrong has been warped by his
father. We also get a good idea of the personality of the father, Abner, by the way Sarty
describes his physical appearance. Abner is not a man of a lot of words, demonstrated in
many instances. We see this in the way he speakes to his family, in the way he
communicates with other characters, and his outrageous stunts in his attempts to prove
that know one will ever run over Abner Snopes and his family. He more or less uses actions
to speak for him. That's sort of the whole idea behind Abner Snopes. He's a man with so
much pride that he will go to any lengths to get revenge upon those who wrong him or try
to own him, even if it means breaking the law. His actions, make strong statements about
what kind of man he is. Barn burning is his largest and always final statement. But, he
sort of builds up to that, as we can see in the story. Once Abner and his family are run
out of town in the beginning of the story (which seems to be a frequent occurrence with
this family) they find another home and another farm to work. Immediately, Abner takes
Sarty up to the landlords house, where Abner purposely steps in manure and walks into the
house and proceeds to rub the manure into a very fine rug. There seems to be no apparent
reason for the action other than the fact that the landlord in a way owns Abner Snopes and
his family, because the landlord own the land they will have to work for a living.
Therefore, they are at the mercy of the landlord. This doesn't sit well with Abner, and
the purpose of soiling the rug must be, again to make a statement about who he is, and to
let the landlord know that he doesn't bow to anyone. Soon, the rug is brought down to the
farm and presented to the family, who must now clean it. Abner, instead of getting his
wife, or his sons to clean the rug, (not to mention himself as well) instructs his two
daughters, described as big, fat and nasty, to take care of the task. The rational behind
this is, Abner knows that the two daughters will more than likely not do a proper job of
washing the rug. He's a very spiteful man. When the rug is returned to the owner and
determined to be ruined, Abner is ordered to pay the land owner twenty bushels of corn
against his families share of the crop. It is later decided in court, by the Justice of
the Peace that he will only be required to pay ten bushels of corn. Of course, Abner,
being the way he is, will still not stand for it. Inevitably, one night Abner decides he
will make his signature statement, the barn burning. Of course, the story doesn't come
right out and say this, there is an ambiguous quality to this work by Faulkner. We are
clued into Abner's plans for the burning when Sarty is sent to get the oil. Then, when
Continues for 2 more pages >>




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