Colonel Sartoris Snopes
In William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning” Colonel Sartoris Snopes is a young man torn due to experiences in his young life. The volume of wisdom he possesses is superior and far beyond his age. There are numerous complex, grueling, and strenuous situations in which he is involved, yet he stands strong in his convictions and triumphs into the freedom and peacefulness he so stalwartly desired.
Colonel Snopes is “small for his age, small and wiry like his father.” (Faulkner 188) His clothing and appearance “patched and faded jeans even too small for him, with straight, uncombed, brown hair and eyes gray and wild as storm scud” (188) are consequences from his father’s wayward, unruly choices causing the family to be vastly impoverished. Colonel does not allow his small size or his youthful age to limit what he can accomplish. Colonel awakes timely to help his father and older brother in the fields; he chops wood for both cooking and the family’s source of heating. Colonel always “worked steadily”, (195) an admirable trait that “he had [received] from his mother.” (195)
Colonel lived with torment string within him. He knew the dark truth about his father; not agreeing with his horrible actions. He is called to testify in court where is father is accused of burning a neighbors barn. He knows that his father had sent a man to burn the barn down and was guilty. He is overwhelmed with “frantic grief and despair.”(188) He knows the truth and knows that he is expected to lie so that his father can remain a free man. Colonel is spared that horrifying decision when the lawyers refuse to question him. Not free from punishment of his father, his father takes him aside and asks him if he was going to tell the truth. He uses the advanced wisdom that he has acquired and he does not answer. He is stuck on the side of the head by this father. He stands in silence, he does not cry, he does not run. He listens to his father explain that, “you got to learn to stick to our own blood or you ain’t going to have any blood stick to you.” (190) This statement leaves him thinking for many years. He knows that it has nothing to do with blood sticking together but it is about the need for “truth, justice.”...