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). The villain is a chilling figure; the hero is quiet and likable, and certainly more impressive that the other members of his family.
Snopes, the father, is a character drawn in hard, dramatic terms. He is small, but wiry and strong; his appearance is harsh and savage. Faulkner's repeated references to Snopes' facial features ("the harsh level stare beneath the shaggy, graying, irascible brows"), his dark manner of dress, and his heavy, deliberate walk combine to present a foreboding figure of a man who strikes out in darkness against those he cannot dominate. The reader never seem Snopes without the "wide, flat, black hat, the stiff black coat" that weren't made for him (and was probably stolen). Snopes' singleness of purpose, driven by "ravening and jealous rage," is reflected in his heavy arrogant stride that seems to "bear twice, the weight which the body compassed." His deliberate soiling of De Spains' rug further illustrates his rebellious disrespect and contempt for those who enjoy better circumstances than his own.
Sarty is "small and wiry like his father," with "eyes gray and wild as a storm scud." By contrast, his father's eyes are extremely cold and "pebble-colored." Sarty is an obedient and respectful son, but at ten, with growing...