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Barn Burning Essay

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Use of Blood in “Barn Burning”
     “Barn Burning” is about the struggle of a boy to do what is right during the Post Civil War era. The main character, Sartoris Snopes, is a poor son of a migrant tenant farmer. In the opening scene he is being asked by a circuit judge about the burning of a farmer’s barn by his father. The boy does not tell on his father and is not forced to do so, but he thinks that he would have done so had he been asked. The father, Abner Snopes, served in the Civil War for both sides and has difficulty venting his anger. Usually he does so through the burning of other people’s barns when they wrong him. The symbol of blood is used by Faulkner to contribute to the theme of loyalty to the family.
     One use of blood is shown when the boy is called to testify and is pressured by his father to lie. When the boy is on stand he is stressed by the fear that his father will do something crazy if he tells on him. Also, his father tells him that some things are more important than the truth, that family is the most important thing. “You were fixing to tell them. You would have told them”(484). This statement made by Abner shows how the boy truly feels about his blood father’s actions and where he stands when it comes to telling a lie or the truth regarding those actions. Also, the scene where that statement takes place depicts how the father feels about family. He thinks that a lie is justified if you are doing ...


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