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Some of things that people think are built on a righteous foundation are often the result of actions or events that are completely dishonorable. Aspects like wealth and influence can be gained by means that are immoral and inhumane. This is the case with Sarty Snopes’ fascination with the wealth of Major de Spain. He cannot see through the huge house and vast estate to the barbarity by which it was gained. In William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning,” the de Spains are barbaric, because their wealth was gained through the inhumane institution of slavery and is maintained by cheap labor. Because of the de Spains barbaric nature, Sarty Snopes’ feelings towards the de Spains are misplaced.
William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning” takes place in the south during the post-Civil War era. During this time many people were adjusting to a life without slaves. Before the war, people gained wealth at the expense of cheap labor from slaves. Slavery was one of the few ways that people could manage a huge estate like the de Spain’s and still be able to turn a profit. It is evident in the story that the de Spain’s were possible slave owners given the fact they still have Negro help now. The de Spains probably owned many more slaves before the end of the war when the institution was outlawed. These slaves probably lived in inhumane conditions in which they worked for little or nothing based on the amount of worked they performed. Based on these facts the barbarity of the de Spains is clear.
The de Spains can also be considered barbaric in the way they maintain their wealth during the time Sarty and his family move onto the de Spain’s holdings. Because of the absence of slavery, the de Spains now maintain their land by means of sharecropping. Sarty father states, “Pretty and white ain’t it? That’s sweat. Nigger sweat. Maybe it ain’t white enough yet to suit him. Maybe he wants to mix some white sweat with it” (1252). Sarty and his family are now some of de Spain’s modified slaves. The fact that Major de Spain can force any race into cheap labor shows his complete lack of care for human welfare.
This lack of care for human welfare is evident when Sarty’s father damages the de Spain’s rug.
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"Barbarity in William Faulkner’s Barn Burning." 123HelpMe.com. 16 Aug 2018
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