Essay William Faulkner 's Barn Burning

Essay William Faulkner 's Barn Burning

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Life with an abusive out of control parent often leads the offspring to grow up quicker than their years. In William Faulkner’s Barn Burning, one is taken on the journey of Colonel Sartoris Snopes (Sarty) growing up and maturing quicker than need be. Young Sarty is faced with the difficult decision of being loyal to his bloodline or to be loyal to himself. Ultimately Sarty had the strength and courage to break free from the verbal chains of fear that his father placed upon him and do the right thing, by telling on his father. This paper will highlight the two main events that were responsible for providing Sarty with the confidence and courage to do the right thing.
Faulkner first introduces Colonel Sartoris Snopes (Sarty) to his readers as a timid, scared little boy trying his best to not be seen nor heard in the courtroom during his father’s trial. Once called upon by the judge, Sarty was only able to muster out a smidgen more than a whisper, his full name to the judge. As his father and their family were asked to leave the town and never come back, Sarty meagerly follows his father outside to their wagon. Upon shifting through the crowd of people, Sarty was called a “barn burner” (p. 801) and punched in the face. Sarty did not have any response to being hit, his father ordered him to get into the wagon and he did as he was told. His mother wanted to wash the blood off of his face, yet he argued he would clean it off later. As the story progresses, Sarty endures a decent amount of disruption and violence at the hands of his father. Not much is heard from Sarty unless his father was demanding him to do something, he was sort of a wallflower in the midst of the chaos his father caused. It is not until the trip out of...


... middle of paper ...


...moving on and leaving his old life and troubles behind him.
As the story progressed, the reader is able to slowly see Sarty grow into a young man who knows he needs to stand up to his father and make a change. Being struck on the head that night by his father on the way to their new home was the beginning of his change. Unable to fully put his thoughts into words, he was able to understand that even his father knew it was time for Sarty to grow up. Seeing Major De Spain’s big white house was rather symbolic for Sarty as well. This was the first time within the story in which he felt safe and did not fear his father. It was at that point where Sarty decided he needed to be loyal to himself, not his family. Although telling on his father ultimately set Sarty free, the two events that happened prior, gave him the strength and courage to elect his path of freedom!

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