Barn Burning By William Faulkner Essay

Barn Burning By William Faulkner Essay

Length: 1017 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

At the conclusion of his short story “Barn Burning,” William Faulkner strongly implies that Abner Snopes burns yet another barn, although whether he does or not is never made absolutely clear. In any case, his young son, Sarty, has run to warn the owner of the barn, Major De Spain, about his father’s intentions:
"De Spain!" he cried, panted [to De Spain’s black servant]. "Where 's…" then he saw the white man too emerging from a white door down the hall. "Barn!" he cried. "Barn!"
"What?" the white man said. "Barn?"
"Yes!" the boy cried. "Barn!"
Later, after De Spain gallops off in the direction of the barn, Sarty hears gun shots in the distance, but again Faulkner leaves unclear who fired the shots and whether anyone was injured or killed. Faulkner does, however, make it possible for us to make a few assumptions, including the following:
• Surely Abner Snopes intended to burn yet another barn; he has a history of such behavior, and nothing in the story suggests that he would fail to act on his clear intentions
• His youngest son as well as his wife seem to assume that Ab will indeed burn another barn
• Whether Ab and his older son had succeeded in setting the barn on fire before the arrival of the owner is not clear
• The gunfire probably comes from De Spain; it would be only natural for him to approach potential (or actual) barn-burners armed, whereas nothing suggests that Ab and his older son are carrying guns.
• By leaving some crucial details ambiguous, Faulkner adds to the over-all ambiguity of the story. He tantalizes his readers, makes them think for themselves, and thus makes them active readers of the story rather than merely passive recipients of information
• Whatever happened about the barn and with the major, Sarty re...


... middle of paper ...


...yourself what kind of person that character is. Abner Snopes is a cruel, brutal man who bullies people for the fun of it. He enjoys inflicting pain on others, both physically and mentally. So ask yourself how Abner would tell this story. What would be his reasoning for setting the fires? Perhaps Abner might tell us of his childhood, giving us some clue as to how he became such a horrific man. Was he himself abused? Why does he hate the people who hire him? How does Abner feel when Sarty betrays him to Major de Spain and runs off?
Basically, the story would be very different because it would take on a different mood. Abner is bitter and hateful, and as the narrator, his story would reflect these emotions. The author would have to get in the mind of a man who seems to have no conscience, who enjoys inflicting pain on others, and loves to destroy property through fire.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Barn Burning By William Faulkner

- In William Faulkner’s story “Barn Burning” a young boy named Sarty is raised by an impoverished white family of sharecroppers, their circumstances leave little room for them to improve their conditions of living. Their family has to work on rich landowner’s farms and get paid a little share of the land owner’s crops. Given their situation Sarty’s father Abner when feeling wronged takes matters into his own hands, and often this is done by burning down the landowner’s barns. Sarty is constantly being placed into a situation where he has to choose between his beliefs in right and wrong, or his fathers....   [tags: Barn Burning, William Faulkner, Morality, Ethics]

Better Essays
1091 words (3.1 pages)

Barn Burning By William Faulkner Essay

- In William Faulkner 's “Barn Burning”, Sarty fights his own internal conflict of whether to side with his family, therefore lying about his father’s history of arson, or to abandon his family due to his moral issues with their actions. Sarty defends his father’s honor as a way of siding with his family. He brawls with the boys outside the “courthouse” all because they disparage his father by calling him a “barn burner” (p. 208). Sarty regrets telling the truth to the judge. Sarty becomes well aware of his decisions and realizes how they can impact his family....   [tags: Barn Burning, William Faulkner, Lie, Morality]

Better Essays
719 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on Analysis Of ' Barn Burning ' By William Faulkner

- In the short story “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner, there are two major characters, Sarty who is the narrator and the protagonist, and Abner who is also his father and the antagonist. Abner Snopes is a poor man, with nothing of value, he is a serial arsonist and is known for his fierce wolf-like independence personality which is feared by his family including Sarty, Abner feel he must lash out at the world out of spite and if he been wronged in anyway regardless his fault he will retaliate through arson....   [tags: Barn Burning, William Faulkner, Abuse]

Better Essays
755 words (2.2 pages)

Barn Burning By William Faulkner Essay

- In the William Faulkner short story “Barn Burning”, the main character Sarty and his family started off living in one barn, then ended up having to relocate to a different barn due to a barn burning incident. Whenever it was time to relocate homes, the father Sade always had another house ready for them. Sarty had a family with a very unstable life, did barn work with his family to survive, and would utmost established a secure life without his family. To begin with, Sarty and his family have lived an extremely unstable life controlled by the father Sade....   [tags: Short story, William Faulkner, Barn Burning]

Better Essays
1080 words (3.1 pages)

Abner 's Barn Burning By William Faulkner Essays

- Family is often a hand people do not get to choose for themselves, but rather they are left dealing with the hand they were dealt till they are strong enough to break free. Sometimes family can do more harm than good in providing proper guidance, love, and support. This is certainly the case with living with Abner Snope in William Faulkner’s short story “Barn Burning”. It takes place in a post-civil war time period and based in the southern rural regions of Mississippi. Abner Snopes, the father as well as the family’s primary provider, works in the sharecropping profession....   [tags: Barn Burning, William Faulkner, Short story]

Better Essays
808 words (2.3 pages)

Essay on Analysis of The Barn Burning by William Faulkner

- Analysis of The Barn Burning by William Faulkner The short story “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner is about a ten year old boy, Sarty Snopes, who has grown to realize that his father, Abner Snopes, provides a life of “despair and grief” as he refuses to accept the “peace and dignity” generated by the ties with other people. In essence, Sarty is faced with the dilemma of choosing between his family (his blood) and moral conscience of what is right and wrong. Jane Hiles interprets this story to be about blood ties through Sartys character in dealing with his internal conflict with his father....   [tags: The Barn Burning William Faulkner Essays]

Better Essays
995 words (2.8 pages)

Essay about William Faulkner 's ' Barn Burning '

- Accomplice to Accomplishment In “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner, follows the protagonist, Colonel Sartoris Snopes, also known as Sarty, a small, wiry 10 year old boy who has inherited innocence and morals from his mom, while attempted to be taught loyalty above all from his father. As well as his father, Abner, a serial arsonist who is cold, violent, and values loyalty. Also Sarty’s mom, Lennie, who is emotional, caring, and seems beaten down from the constant moving due to her husband’s illegal activities....   [tags: William Faulkner, Sartoris, Barn Burning]

Better Essays
855 words (2.4 pages)

Essay on Critical Analysis of Barn Burning by William Faulkner

- Critical Analysis of Barn Burning by William Faulkner The story of "Barn Burning" was "first published in the June of 1939 in the Harper's Magazine and later awarded the O. Henry Memorial Award for the best short story of the year." The author, William Faulkner, "was one of America's most innovative novelists". The way he describes the smells, sites and sounds of the rural late 1800's make you feel as if you are there with the characters in this story. Through the use of symbolism, Faulkner tells the story about a relationship of a father and son....   [tags: Barn Burning William Faulkner Essays]

Better Essays
1230 words (3.5 pages)

Loyalty to Family in Barn Burning by William Faulkner Essay example

- Loyalty to Family in Barn Burning by William Faulkner The short story "Barn Burning" by William Faulkner is a stark look at the struggle of a boy to try to do what is right, or do what is best for his family during the post Civil War era. The main character, Sartoris Snopes is a poor son of a migrant tenant farmer who, in the opening scene is being questioned about the burning of a farmers barn by his father, Abner Snopes. The boy is torn between choosing what is right, telling the truth, or lying to protect his father....   [tags: Short Story Barn Burning William Faulkner]

Better Essays
702 words (2 pages)

A Father's Legacy in William Faulkner's Barn Burning Essay

- A Father's Legacy in William Faulkner's Short Story "Barn Burning" The cruel dominance of a father, can extinguish any flame of hope that builds in the people around him. In William Faulkner's short story "Barn Burning," Abner is that father. The story portrays a nomadic life of a family driven from one home to another. Abner had a craving hunger to belittle those around him that thought they were "better than him." Although the family accepts the nomadic life, Sarty (the son) dreams of having peace and stability....   [tags: William Faulkner Barn Burning]

Better Essays
1014 words (2.9 pages)