The story begins with Abner Snopes on trial for barn burning. Faulkner immediately establishes the character of the predecessor as a vile man, characterized by his "ravening and jealous rage." (2182) And predictably, his business with barn burning was not an uncommon offense. Faulkner says, "But he did not think this now and he has seen those same niggard blazes all his life." (2180) Ab Snopes tries ruthlessly to also make his son his equal, "You’re getting to be a man. You got to learn. You got to learn to stick to your own blood or you ain’t going to have any blood to stick to you." (2180-81...
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...age, but this synopsis does not promise the fulfilling of the American Dream. Rather, Faulkner insists that no frontiers protect a man from his past, so the American West shelters Sarty's idealism as only a transition between the decadent South and the battlefields of Europe.” While Sarty was powerless over the death of his father, he rose above, able to understand his power and powerlessness over life. (Ford)
Faulkner’s Barn Burning proposes the complex state of the modern man. The modern man, embodied by Sarty Snopes, has the power to overcome the challenges of life, and is able to define himself as a being, separate from his corrupt heritage, especially his father. Faulkner’s purpose for Sarty was to explain the complex nature of man’s powerlessness over certain areas and his power over the other. Faulkner’s explanation of the modern man makes way for his belief.
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