Preview
Preview

Barn Burning Essay

No Works Cited
Length: 1878 words (5.4 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Every person reaches a point in their lives when they must define themselves in relation to their parents. We all come through this experience differently, depending on our parents and the situation that we are in. For some people the experience comes very early in their lives, and can be a significant life changing experience. In William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning” Colonel Sartoris Snopes must decide either to stand with his father and compromise his integrity, or embrace honesty and morality and condemn his family. This is a difficult decision to make, especially for a ten year old boy that has nothing outside of what his father provides. Sarty’s decision to ultimately betray his father is dependent on his observation of Abner’s character and the conflict he feels concerning Abner.
“Barn Burning” opens with a trial in a small Southern town. We see a small, wiry boy sitting on a barrel. The first thing we know of his thoughts shows the conflict he feels. After first identifying Mr. Harris as his father’s enemy, he corrects himself fiercely; thinking, “our enemy…ourn! mine and hisn both! He’s my Father!”(84). The dual instincts of loyalty and integrity are what plague Sarty throughout the story. Early on we see in Sarty’s actions his desire to defend his family, for example; when he is leaving the first courthouse with his family he fights the first person who calls him a barn burner. The narrator lets us know that Sarty is in a blind fury and unable to see or feel the person he is fighting. The passion that he feels is likely fueled by his inability to stand whole hearted with his father. When the family stops to camp for the night, Abner hits Sarty and then explains his view: that the people in the towns they leave only want t...


... middle of paper ...


...th and justice he cannot justify completely abandoning his father. He must give his father some kind of eulogy and finally does with the words “He was brave! He was! He was in the war! He was in Colonel Sartoris’ cav’ry!” whispered into the night.
What is it that finally makes Sarty defy his father and his blood? Was it his hope of redemption and a normal life? Was it his discovery that some people lived in comfort and happiness instead of terror, grief and despair? Was it even that last day that showed Sarty the possibility of reform in his father? We cannot know what the last straw was, but we do know that Sarty chose to define himself by honor, integrity, and a clean conscience instead of the anger and misplaced retribution that Abner held in such high regard.

Works Cited
Faulkner, William. “Barn Burning”. Thinking and Writing About Literature. 2nd ed. 2001


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper








This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
The Southern Social Themes of Barn Burning Essay examples - Written as it was, at the ebb of the 1930s, a decade of social, economic, and cultural tumult, the decade of the Great Depression, William Faulkner's short story "Barn Burning" may be read and discussed in our classrooms as just that--a story of the '30s, for "Barn Burning" offers students insights into these years as they were lived by the nation and the South and captured by our artists. This story was first published in June of 1939 in Harper's Magazine and later awarded the 0. Henry Memorial Award for the best short story of the year....   [tags: Barn Burning Essays] 2222 words
(6.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Crossing the Line in Faulkner's Barn Burning Essay - Crossing the Line in Faulkner's Barn Burning     The American author Joyce Carol Oats, in her Master Race, wrote that "our enemy is by tradition our savior" (Oats 28).  Oats recognized that we often learn more from our enemy than from ourselves.  Whether the enemy is another warring nation, a more prolific writer, or even the person next door, we often can ascertain a tremendous amount of knowledge by studying that opposite party.  In the same way, literature has always striven to provide an insight into human nature through a study of opposing forces.  Often, simply by looking at the binary operations found in any given text, the texts meanings, both hidden and apparent, can become surpri...   [tags: Barn Burning Essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
969 words
(2.8 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on The Importance of Literary Elements in Barn Burning - The Importance of Literary Elements in Barn Burning         Understanding literary elements such as patterns, reader/writer relationships, and character choice are critical in appreciating William Faulkner's Barn Burning. Some literary elements are small and almost inconsequential while others are large and all-encompassing: the mother's broken clock, a small and seemingly insignificant object, is used so carefully, extracting the maximum effect; the subtle, but more frequent use of dialectal words which contain darker, secondary meanings; the way blood is used throughout the story in many different ways, including several direct references in the familial sense; how Faulkner chooses to...   [tags: Barn Burning Essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
1470 words
(4.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
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] 637 words
(1.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
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] 1202 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about Character in William Faulkner's Barn Burning - Character in William Faulkner's Barn Burning The use of concise imagery and brilliant description in William Faulkner's "Barn Burning" gives depth and familiarity to his two main characters. It is the poignant story of a boy's inner struggle between his inherent sense of right and the constricting bonds of blood which tie him to his evil, domineering father and pathetic family. Faulkner often attributes to his characters animal-like qualities or compares them to elements of the earth (that he loves and knows so well)....   [tags: Barn Burning Essays] 595 words
(1.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Barn Burning: Family vs. Morality - Barn Burning: Family vs. Morality  The theme of Faulkner's "Barn Burning" is Sarty Snopes's desire to break away from the oppressive conditions of his family life. Sarty gains this freedom when he decides to warn the de Spains because his father's violation of his own sort of morality liberates him from what he calls the "pull of blood," or duty to his family.   The narrator describes Sarty's father, Abner Snopes, as such: "There was something about his wolf-like independence and even courage ....   [tags: Barn Burning Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
551 words
(1.6 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay on Analysis of The Barn Burning by William Faulkner - Analysis of The Barn Burning by William Faulkner The short story “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner is about a ten year old boy, Sarty Snopes, who has grown to realize that his father, Abner Snopes, provides a life of “despair and grief” as he refuses to accept the “peace and dignity” generated by the ties with other people. In essence, Sarty is faced with the dilemma of choosing between his family (his blood) and moral conscience of what is right and wrong. Jane Hiles interprets this story to be about blood ties through Sartys character in dealing with his internal conflict with his father....   [tags: The Barn Burning William Faulkner Essays] 995 words
(2.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on An Analysis of Faulkner's Barn Burning and Shingles for the Lord - An Analysis of Faulkner's Barn Burning and Shingles for the Lord In "Barn Burning," Faulkner's usual style of long sentences and detailed descriptions continues. Although the run on sentences are not quite as complicated or abundant as those of the other Faulkner works we have read, I still found myself wondering to some extent what the story was really about. Was it just about a bitter man's spitefulness toward Colonel de Spain as a result of his jealousy of the colonel's status. Or was there more to it....   [tags: Barn Burning Shingles for the Lord] 463 words
(1.3 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Narrators in Faulkner’s Barn Burning and The Unvanquished Essay - Narrators in Faulkner’s Barn Burning and The Unvanquished “Barn Burning” and The Unvanquished present very different ways to tell a story. In “Barn Burning,” Faulkner uses a third person, limited omniscient point of view that allows him to enter the mind of the story’s protagonist, Colonel Sartoris Snopes. In this point of view, the narrator establishes that the story took place in the past by commenting that “Later, twenty years later, he was too tell himself, ‘If I had said they wanted only truth, justice, he would have it me again.’ But now he said nothing” (8)....   [tags: Faulkner Barn Burning] 531 words
(1.5 pages)
Good Essays [preview]