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 father's acts result in him thinking more for himself as the storyprogresses. Faulkner uses many instances to display the developing of Sarty's conscienceas the theme of the story "Barn Burning." Three instances in which we can see thedeveloping of a conscience in the story are the ways that Sarty compliments and admireshis father, the language he uses when describing his father, and the way he obeys his fatherthroughout the story.The first instance in which we can see a transition from childhood to adulthood inSarty's life is in the way he compliments his father. Sarty admires his father very muchand wishes that things could change for the better throughout the story. At the beginningof the story he speaks of how his fathers "...wolflike independence..."(145) causes hisfamily to depend on almost no one. He believes that they live on their own because of hisfathers drive for survival. When Sarty mentions the way his father commands his sisters toclean a rug with force "...though never raising his voice..."(148), it shows how he sees hisfather as strict, but not overly demanding. He seems to begin to feel dissent towards hisfather for the way he exercises his authority in the household. As we near the end of theTaylor-2story, Sarty's compliments become sparse and have a different tone surrounding them.After running from the burning barn, he spoke of his dad in an almost heroic sense. Hewanted everyone to remember his dad as a brave man, "He was in the war."(154) andshould be known for it, not burning barns. He seems to care about, but not condone hisfather and his actions.Another instance where we see a transition is in the language he uses whendescribing his father. At the beginning of the story he spoke as a child watching andlooking at the things around him. He said that an enemy of his fathers was...

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