Loyalty to Family in Barn Burning by William Faulkner Essay example

Loyalty to Family in Barn Burning by William Faulkner Essay example

Length: 702 words (2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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. The boy is not forced to tell to judge about his father burning the barn, but is certain he would have told if asked. The father is a soldier from the Civil War and has a knack for burning down the barns of those who cross his path. Faulkner uses the symbol of blood to illustrate the theme of loyalty to the family.

     Faulkner illustrates the theme of blood when he is to testify, and is pressured by his father to lie. In the makeshift courtroom, when the boy is put on the stand he is pressured because he knows that his father will do something rash if his son tells the truth. He also is told that some things are more important than the truth, that family is the most important thing. When Abner states, "You would have told them." This shows how the boy feels toward his blood father, and how even though it would have been a lie he should have testified in his fathers favor. This scene also reveals how the father feels about family. The father belie...

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Loyalty vs. Righteousness in William Faulkner’s Short Story Barn Burning

- The term “blood brothers” usually refers to two or more males who accept each other and have decided to create a bond by fusing one another’s blood together; this would mean that these males chose to be bonded. But when it comes to ones own bloodline, it is not possible to choose ones parents. For this reason, one must learn to analyze what is right and wrong, even if it’s not something the parent(s) want him to believe. In William Faulkner’s short story Barn Burning, loyalty versus righteousness is one of the struggles in the father-son relationship between Abner and his youngest son Sarty....   [tags: Short Story Analysis, Literary Analysis]

Better Essays
602 words (1.7 pages)

The Expression of Characters in Barn Burning by William Faulkner Essay

- In the short story “Barn Burning”, characters are expressed in several different ways. The author does so by adding symbolic meaning behind each character’s actions. Each decision means something, and every detail matters when evaluating characters within this story. The way the story progresses the reader can experience the growth of the character. One person that really experiences this growth is Sarty. Sarty is a young boy who is confined by the expectations to stand up for family members whether or not he has to lie for them or not....   [tags: growth, loyalty, family]

Better Essays
552 words (1.6 pages)

Essay about William Faulkner 's ' Barn Burning '

- ... Sarty is changed and tested by the events in the story and changes near the end. One way the protagonist, Sarty, is changed and tested throughout the story, is being tested by his own morals towards his father’s criminal actions. When Abner burns down the first barn, Sarty is conflicted on whether to lie about his father burning the barn or to tell the truth if he is called to testify against him in court. He knows it was wrong but knows his father wants him to lie and he has to for his well being....   [tags: William Faulkner, Sartoris, Barn Burning]

Better Essays
855 words (2.4 pages)

Analysis Of William Faulkner 's ' Barn Burning ' Essay

- ... You got to learn to stick to your blood or you ain’t going to have any blood to stick to you.” (Barn Burning 9). Ab advised Sarty of this shortly after hit struck him in the head after he assumed Sarty was going to reveal his crime. Ab speaking that line implies that he is a dictator, whom rules his family with abuse and by intimidation. The Snopes arrives at the estate of Major de Spain, where he and Sarty is African American servant advises them de Spain wasn’t at the residence. Opposed to Ab leaving the residence and returning at a later hour, he bombards into the residence, heaving the servant out the way....   [tags: William Faulkner, Short story, Barn Burning]

Better Essays
1279 words (3.7 pages)

Essay on William Faulkner’s Barn Burning and A Rose for Emily

- “Barn Burning” is a story filled with myth. This coming of age story features a boy stuck in a family with a father who can be thought of as Satan, and can be easily seen as connected to myths of Zeus and Cronus. The connection to Zeus is further elaborated when William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” is also considered. These two stories along with a few others provided an amazing view of the south. Many characters or families can be viewed as groups that lived in the south during this time....   [tags: Barn Burning, A Rose for Emily]

Better Essays
1159 words (3.3 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)

Growth in William Faulkner’s Barn Burning and James Baldwin’s Sonny’s Blues

- Growth in William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning” and James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” The word family evokes an image of trust and a bond of loyalty. In William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning” and James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues”, the main characters in both these stories demonstrate the idea of family loyalty in several ways. While they continue to express the values of family loyalty, the main characters have to overcome several obstacles. Searching for ways to communicate effectively with their families and maintaining their changing identities trap the characters....   [tags: Sonny’s Blues Barn Burning Faulkner Baldwin]

Better Essays
1819 words (5.2 pages)

Analysis of Barn Burning by William Faulkner Essay

- Michael Meyer suggests that the description of the de Spain mansion in paragraph 41 of "Barn Burning" reveals Sarty's conflict. What does this mansion represent in Sarty's mind. How does that symbolism conflict with Sarty's being loyal to his father. The description of the house helps to frame the main conflicts that Sarty had with his father by making sure that you (the reader) know that this is the first time that Sarty has seen anything like this house. It causes his feelings of happiness to flow from him, and he feels that nothing that his father could do could destroy the place that he sees, as he thinks in paragraph 41 about "the spell of this place and dignity renderin...   [tags: Barn Burning Essays]

Free Essays
1202 words (3.4 pages)

Sarty's Transformation in William Faulkner's Barn Burning Essay

- Sarty's Transformation in William Faulkner's Barn Burning    In William Faulkner's story, "Barn Burning", we find a young man who struggles with the relationship he has with his father and his own conscience.  We see Sarty, the young man, develop into an adult while dealing with the many crude actions and ways of Abner, his father.  We see Sarty as a puzzled youth that faces the questions of faithfulness to his father or faithfulness to himself and the society he lives in.  His struggle dealing with the reactions that are caused by his father's action result in him thinking more for himself as the story progresses....   [tags: Faulkner Barn Burning Essays]

Better Essays
861 words (2.5 pages)

Essay on Abner and Sarty Snopes in Barn Burning

- Abner and Sarty Snopes The nature of the relationship between father and son in William Faulkner's Barn Burning is displayed in the first paragraph of the story. In general a father-son relationship would be built on genuine respect, love, loyalty, and admiration. These building blocks were absent in Abner and Sarty Snopes relationship. Sarty's loyalty to his father appeared to come from a long time fear of the consequences of not obeying his father's commands. The "nigger" that could place the blame on Abner was not to be found....   [tags: Barn Burning Essays]

Free Essays
637 words (1.8 pages)