"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.
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