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Sarty's Point of View in Barn Burning by William Faulkner

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Length: 1225 words (3.5 double-spaced pages)
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Sarty's Point of View in Barn Burning by William Faulkner


William Faulkner elected to write “Barn Burning” from his young character Sarty’s perspective because his sense of morality and decency would present a more plausible conflict in this story. Abner Snopes inability to feel the level of remorse needed to generate a truly moral predicament in this story, sheds light on Sarty’s efforts to overcome the constant “pull of blood”(277) that forces him to remain loyal to his father. As a result, this reveals the hidden contempt and fear Sarty has developed over the years because of Abner’s behavior. Sarty’s struggle to maintain an understanding of morality while clinging to the fading idolization of a father he fears, sets the tone for a chain of events that results in his liberation from Abner’s destructive defiance-but at a costly price.
Sarty’s dilemma arises from his father’s destructive envy of his wealthy employers. Abner Snopes frustration with being a poor sharecropper owned “body and soul”(280) by the South’s rich and elite leads him to exact his revenge on the undese...


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...hind the unspoken rule that blood is thicker than water. But, in the face of having to decide whether he should continue to overlook Abner’s amoral behavior, he chooses not to. Even though he tries to understand Abner’s reasoning, in his heart he cannot condone it. In a situation where Sarty-the child would be frightened to stand up against his father, Sarty-the man is not. It is unfortunate that he had to lose a father in order to regain his sense of morality, but in light of the situation he was in, it can be agreed, that he is better off.

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