This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

A Father's Legacy In William Faulkner's Barn Burning

1081 words - 4 pages

A Father's Legacy in William Faulkner's Short Story "Barn Burning"

The cruel dominance of a father, can extinguish any flame of hope that builds in the people around him. In William Faulkner's short story "Barn Burning," Abner is that father. The story portrays a nomadic life of a family driven from one home to another. Abner had a craving hunger to belittle those around him that thought they were "better than him." Although the family accepts the nomadic life, Sarty (the son) dreams of having peace and stability. To have this peace, it only requires a lack of conflict. The Snope family was doomed to struggle due to Abner's constant instigation of conflict, the ongoing domination of his family and his complete lack of respect for the law.

Abners instigation of conflict, gives him justification to destroy the center of livlihood (the barn) of those he envies. The "ravening and jealous rage" he feels when seeing DeSpains home for the first time, leads to his desire to destroy it in some way. After deliberateley stepping in horse droppings, he forces himself in the home past the Negro. "The boy saw the prints of the stiff foot on the doorjamb and saw them appear on the pale rug behind the machinelike deliberation of the foot." Upon being asked to leave, "the boy watched him pivot on the good leg and saw the stiff foot drag round the arc [...] leaving a final long and fading smear." Although Abner had not appeared to be aware of the destruction he was doing, the intent of his actions became obvious when he carefully scraped off his boot on the front porch. There is no doubt that Abner expects a confrontation with De Spain. The response he recieves, however, is not the one he is expecting, De Spain only wants him to clean the rug. With the bubbling wash-pot and the corrosive lye soap Abner's daughters began to scrub at the stains. Abner watches the progress and decides that the soap is not doing the level of destruction he desires. "[Sarty] saw his father raise from the ground a flattish fragment of field stone." Even through his wife had pleeded with him to stop, the result of Abner's work was displayed that evening over the backs of two chairs. "The tracks of his father's foot were gone. Where they had been were now long, water-cloudy scoriations resembling the sporadic course of lilliputian mowing machine." The instigation of conflict that started with the rug, would again lead to the family's shattered dream of peace.

Abner's consistent and ongoing domination of his family left them unable to stop the continuing cycle of strife. His cold, emotionless responses coupled with his tendancy for quick, savage blows left his family in a state of apprehensive anticipation. A good representation of this is Sarty's confrontation with his father after the hearing in the store. "[Abner's] voice [was] harsh like tin and without heat like tin. ...

Find Another Essay On A Father's Legacy in William Faulkner's Barn Burning

Sarty's Conflict in William Faulkner's "Barn Burning"

1040 words - 4 pages Sarty's Conflict William Faulkner's "Barn Burning" provides an excellent example of how conflicting loyalties can affect decisions. In Faulkner's story, the main character, Sarty, faces such a dilemma. On one hand, Sarty has the morals that society has instilled in him in spite of his father. One the other hand, Sarty has the loyalty to his father because of the blood ties shared between them and the fact that his father raised and

Character Study on Sarty in William Faulkner's "Barn Burning"

765 words - 3 pages In William Faulkner's 1939 short story "Barn Burning", Sarty is a young boy who is at the mercy of his overbearing father Abner. Sarty is oppressed, naive and has a strong sense of right and wrong. Abner is a poor man who gets his revenge on anyone who he believes has cheated him is some way. His revenge is barn burning. Sarty knows that this is wrong and struggles with the realities of life. If he tells on Abner who will care for the family? If

Faulkner's "Barn Burning" Charactors

593 words - 2 pages Faulkner's "Barn Burning" involves the Snopes, a sharecropper family that has moved 12 times in the memory of the primary participant, Sarty. Sarty is the youngest of four children to Abner and Lennie Snopes. The older brother and twin sisters are not named. Also with the family is Lennie's sister, Lizzie. Of this family, Abner and Sarty are the most active, around whom the theme focuses. Also, the land owner, Major de-Spain, is the latest

The Relationship Between Father And Son in William Faulkner's short story "Barn Burning"

1359 words - 5 pages Normally in life, you look up to your father to be the care taker and to encourage you to make your own decisions on what is right and what is wrong. You figure your father should have your best interest at heart and to show compassion for you. In William Faulkner's short story "Barn Burning," Abner is the opposite of the normal father figure you would see. Rather than

Playing with Fire: Life Altering Decisions in Faulkner's "Barn Burning,"

1015 words - 5 pages At one point or another in life, everyone has to make decisions that change one's life forever. Usually one encounters an event or a thing that propels such a decision. In William Faulkner's short story, "Barn Burning," Sarty, a young boy, is going through a period of initiation into adult life. During this process, he has to make a life altering decision. For Sarty, his father's fires become the element that plays many roles and eventually

William Falukner's Barn Burning

2194 words - 9 pages is the only one brave enough in the story to stand up for what he believes is right. For these reasons this writer believes that Abner Snopes with his unconventionally if not questionable methods, is a real American Anti-Hero, and as such, if he is not worthy of praise, he at the very least cannot be dismissed as a simple villain. Works Cited Faulkner, W. "Barn Burning." (2013) Baym, N. (Ed.). The Norton Anthology of American literature. (Shorter 8th ed.). Vol. A. New York: Norton.

The Character Puzzle - Barry Hannah's "Water Liars," Raymond Carver's "Cathedral," and William Faulkner's "Barn Burning"

1900 words - 8 pages rolls across the paper. With his eyes closed, he finishes the drawing and places his feet in the blind man's boots even if just for a moment. He now understands how it feels to be blind, to not be able to see with eyes but to see with the heart.Speaking of hearts, Faulkner displays his for his audience to gaze upon within his classic "Barn Burning". Unlike the other two works, Faulkner does not use first person. The characterization process Faulkner

Barn Burning by William Faulkner

1373 words - 6 pages William Faulkner is a writer from Mississippi. Faulkner is a very famous writer with most of his most famous works being short stories. Two of his most popular short stories are “A rose for Emily” along with “Barn Burning”. Faulkner has many other popular works, but “Barn Burning” was one of his well-known stories because of the many different of elements of literature in which Faulkner chose to include. Faulkner was known as a writer who could

Barn Burning by William Faulkner

1806 words - 7 pages situation during that part of the story. William Faulkner lived during a time period where literary critics label it the modernist era. This is in part because of the two world wars that Faulkner had lived through and all of the changes southern America was going through. Faulkner’s writing was influenced by where he was from and the ethics of the south in the 1900s. When William Faulkner published his short story “Barn Burning” in “Harpers

William Faulkner And Barn Burning

1322 words - 5 pages . John Mays) Sarty Snopes in William Faulkner’s Barn Burning, explores these questions of human meaning, which ultimately classifies this modernistic short story. The dichotomy and differences between Sarty and Abner Snopes creates an undeniable tension within the character of Sarty, while he battles himself in order to decide which is more important: that which is right, or sticking to your own blood. The characters of Sarty and Abner embody the

Symbolism in "A Rose for Emily" and "Barn Burning" by William Faulkner

1046 words - 4 pages In his many works of fiction, William Faulkner explores the lives of characters who live in the closed society of the American South, a society rooted in traditional values. In the short stories "Barn Burning" and "A Rose for Emily," Faulkner explores what happens when individuals lose their connection to this society and its values. Both Abner Snopes, a rebellious sharecropper, and Emily Grierson, an unmarried woman from a prominent family, are

Similar Essays

Character In William Faulkner's Barn Burning

640 words - 3 pages 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

William Faulkner's A Rose For Emily And Barn Burning

1207 words - 5 pages Symbolism in William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily and Barn Burning If we compare William Faulkner's two short stories, 'A Rose for Emily' and 'Barn Burning', he structures the plots of these two stories differently. However, both of the stories note the effect of a father¡¦s teaching, and in both the protagonists Miss Emily and Sarty make their own

Sarty's Reliability As Narrator In William Faulkner's "Barn Burning"

955 words - 4 pages Sarty even in his adult years. He is naturally biased in his portrayal of Abner as a cold and domineering figure because he still holds him accountable for his indiscretions.As Ford points out in her essay "Narrative Legerdemain: Evoking Sarty's Future in 'Barn Burning', in a later work Faulkner uses the character of V.K. Ratliff to describe Abner in a more favorable light (5). This reverse portrayal of Abner Snopes is indicative of Faulkner's

Transformation Into Adulthood In William Faulkner's Story, "Barn Burning"

786 words - 3 pages In William Faulkner's story, "Barn Burning", we find a young man who struggleswith the relationship he has with his father. We see Sarty, the young man, develop into anadult while dealing with the many crude actions and ways of Abner, his father. We seeSarty as a puzzled youth who faces the questions of faithfulness to his father orfaithfulness to himself and the society he lives in. His struggle dealing with the reactionswhich are caused by his