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Character Analysis William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning”
In “Barn Burning” the setting is a time when people drove horse wagons and the workingmen were generally farmers. The major character in this story is Colonel Sartoris Snopes, called “Sarty” by his family who is a ten-year-old boy. In the beginning, Sarty is portrayed as a confused and frightened young boy. He is in despair over the burden of doing the right thing or sticking by his family, as his father states,” You got to learn to stick to your own blood or you ain’t going to have any blood to stick to you.”
Sarty’s father, Abner Snopes is accused of burning down a barn and Sarty is called upon to testify against his father and to tell the events of what happened. He wants to tell the truth because it is the right thing to do, but he knows he might have lie to save his father from being reprimanded. To his relief, it is decided that Sarty will not have to testify and is dismissed from testifying. It is decided by the Justice of the Peace to order Abner and his family to leave town at once.
Sarty has moved twelve times in his ten years of age and although the story does not state clearly, that this is not the first time his father has set fire to a barn, but shows that the chances are, that he probably has done this in the past which has affected Sarty in how he feels about his father. Sarty’s other family members include the mother, aunt, an older brother, and two twin sisters who are minor contributing factors in this story. The family knows the father is responsible for the burning of the barns and they even unwillingly help him at his requests. This story describes the family somewhat concerned for the father, but they never challenge his decision to burn the barns even though it is wrong.
The critical point of the story is when Sarty decides to tell Mr. De Spain that his father is going to burn his barn. Sarty is in disarray because he doesn’t know what is going to happen to him next and is probably speculating that his family will never forgive him because the of the harm that will come to their father if he is caught in the act.
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