Narrators in Faulkner’s Barn Burning and The Unvanquished Essay

Narrators in Faulkner’s Barn Burning and The Unvanquished Essay

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Narrators in Faulkner’s Barn Burning and The Unvanquished


“Barn Burning” and The Unvanquished present very different ways to tell a story. In “Barn Burning,” Faulkner uses a third person, limited omniscient point of view that allows him to enter the mind of the story’s protagonist, Colonel Sartoris Snopes. In this point of view, the narrator establishes that the story took place in the past by commenting that “Later, twenty years later, he was too tell himself, ‘If I had said they wanted only truth, justice, he would have it me again.’ But now he said nothing” (8). The narrator of “Barn Burning” develops Colonel Sartoris as a child by describing his relationship with his father; no matter how many times Ab Snopes burns a barn or strikes his son, Colonel Sartoris wants to believe in his father’s goodness and potential for change.

In the first half of The Unvanquished, Bayard Sartoris’s character often reflects innocence and naiveté, but Faulkner develops the character in an entirely different way. Rather than using a third-person limited omniscient narrator to describe Bayar...

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