William Faulkner’s narrative “Barn Burning” highlights one of the most complex humanistic behaviors that has endured the test of time and is still relevant today. All cultures throughout history have placed an emphasis on familial loyalty to some degree or fashion and for the majority of people the bonds shared with those to whom one is directly related to are perhaps the most sacred and binding relationships in a person’s lifetime. One’s immediate family plays a strong and direct role in shaping and molding individuals into who they are and what they will become in the future. Society and its expectations as a whole deals a strong hand into the development of a person and generally speaking, society and familial expectations serve as a beneficial mutualistic influence on a developing individual in the sense that similar values and ideals are encouraged by both of these forms of influence. It is when these two expectations clash and conflict with each other that a rift is created within the individual being pulled by these forms of influence. Sartoris Snopes serves as a microcosm of how dark influences can debilitate a person’s development and force unnecessary decisions and actions to be made for the sake of protecting one’s very own humanity. “Barn Burning” provides a sobering depiction of just how powerful the influence of familial bonds and cultural norms is on one’s everyday life and development as a human being and makes clear that which forces we choose to follow can either make or break us.
The battle between Sarty’s father Abner and the society in which the family lives in creates a strong enough discord to cause Sarty to choose between the two sides and examine his own moral character....
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...’s exposure to the positive influence of society provided him the spark that was needed to break from his father’s tyrannical wrath and set out on his own course of life hopefully in a more healthy environment.
Bertonneau, Thomas. "An overview of 'Barn Burning." Gale Online Encyclopedia. Detroit: Gale, 2014.Literature Resource Center. Web. 6 May 2014.
Billingslea, Oliver. "Fathers and sons: the spiritual quest in Faulkner's 'Barn Burning'." The MississippiQuarterly 44.3 (1991): 287+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 6 May 2014.
Faulkner, William. “Barn Burning”. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Sixth ed. Vol. D. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.
Flora, Joseph M. "Barn Burning: Overview." Reference Guide to Short Fiction. Ed. Noelle Watson. Detroit: St. James Press, 1994. Literature Resource Center. Web. 6 May 2014.
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