Barn Burning Conflict Analysis

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. This causes the main psychological conflict in the story. Sarty starts to realize his father’s depravity and struggles between his loyalty to…show more content…
By the end of the story, although tortured by his choices, he achieves moral independence from his father. The struggle for Sarty is strong because of the great emphasis his father, Abner places on loyalty to one’s blood no matter the cost. Sarty might have been able to make his own choices of right and wrong, had it not been for the impact of his father’s words. His struggle becomes apparent because he doesn’t want to lie in court, but also feels strong loyalty to his father. He reminds himself that his father’s enemies are his own. “The smell and sense just a little fear because mostly of despair and grief, the old fierce pull of blood. He could not see the table where the Justice sat and before which his father and his father’s enemy (our enemy he thought in that despair: ourn! Mine and hisn both! He’s my father!) stood. (Faulkner 172) This demonstrates to the reader that Sarty wants…show more content…
Abner goes before a Justice to show that he is being wronged. While the Justice still finds him guilty he does lessen the fine. However, that is not enough for Abner. This prompts Abner into taking matters, once again into his own hands. His father calls for him to go to their barn and retrieve a can of oil. Sarty starts for the barn. Then he realizes that he was doing what he was told out of obligation. “Then he was moving, running, outside the house, toward the stable: this the old habit, the old blood which he had not been permitted to choose for himself.” (Faulkner 181) Although he is tormented by his choice he returns with the can. When Sarty realizes that Abner isn’t going to send warning, he feels Abner is breaking his own moral code. He then knows that he has to do the right thing, and warn de Spain. Abner knows that he wants to tell, so he wants him detained. Finally, able to break free he sets off to warn de Spain. After his warning, Sarty hears three shots fired. In a moment of guilt, he calls out to his father. “” Pap! Pap!”, running again before he knew he had begun to run, looking backward over his shoulder at the glare as he got up, running on among the invisible trees, panting, sobbing, “Father! Father!”” (Faulkner 183) The change from an endearment to something more formal, shows Sarty putting emotional distances between himself and his father. In William Faulkner’s story “Barn Burning

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