Abner Snopes Essay

920 words - 4 pages

In William Faulkner’s Barn Burning, Abner Snopes is a main character and father of Colonel Sartoris Snopes (Sarty), who is also a main character. Abner is a very poor looking man, unclean and unshaven. He always seems to wear the same thing, a dirty white button up shirt with a dirty black hat and coat.
Snopes is a very terrifying figure, often controlling his family with physical and psychological violence as well as making them contribute to his favorite pastime, burning barns. The Snopes family will pack up and move at any moment because of Abner’s actions, showing that Abner has a very tight grip on his family. Despite this figure that Abner portrays, he receives moments of empathy ...view middle of the document...

He feels no remorse for these actions but rather sees them as revenge against people who he thinks has done him wrong. We see through two different court settings, one in a town store and the other in a courthouse, that he will eventually have to face the wrath of society, who will not stand for him playing the blame game. It is evident that his use of fire is to threaten, not kill. This has to do with his thought that he is merely a victim of the class war, not a criminal of law. Snopes justifies his acts as injustice or actions forced upon him, while the barn burning simply appears as him lashing out at the world for his many problems—something that makes him feel good.
In the story, we also see insight into Abner’s past that allows us to know a little more about his character. We find out the he is a veteran of the war and was injured during it, causing his obvious limp. However, in the blacksmith shop in their new town, Sarty overhears two men speaking of rumors that Abner stole items during the war. This adds mystery to Snopes’s life and seems as though his war actions are known by many, even by those whom they have never met yet.
Snopes is an angry man fed by rage. In his son’s eyes, he is powerful and influential. However, in actuality he is a force of destruction and violence, burning barns and creating havoc wherever he goes. He is unhappy and spreads that unhappiness to others...

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