Transition From Son To Citizen In Faulkner's Short Story, Barn Burning

892 words - 4 pages

In William Faulkner’s short story, “Barn Burning” we can follow the transition of a child from a loyal and devoted son to a law obeying citizen. The inadvertent transition is done by his own father and his rather cruel exercise of fatherhood. As a result of abusive parenting, and the lack of love, the son learns how to separate loyalty from morality even if he has to pay a hefty price: the loss of the father, whom he adored once as a brave soldier.
After describing the first scene in the novel, we understand that boy is sitting in a department store that serves also as a courtroom, and simply observing his surroundings in details until he is called by the judge to testify in this case against his father. Knowing the truth and knowing that he has to lie about it, terrifies him as he says: “He aims for me to lie, he thought, again with that frantic grief and despair. And I will have to do hit.” He shows unconditional loyalty toward his father by remaining silent, and forcing the judge who he sees as the “enemy”, to dismiss the case due to the lack of evidence. His devotion is depicted further as they leave the courtroom, and the boy gets in to an altercation with a bystander, “half again his size”, hissing at them: "Barn burner!" However his steadfastness to his father is not rewarded but rather expected by his brutal man.
The father’s poor parenting skill, slowly erodes the boy’s loyalty. Instead of rewarding the boy for his dedication, he wakes him up after a meager dinner, takes him away from the campfire and beats him: “ His father struck him with the flat of his hand on the side of the head, hard but without heat, exactly as he had struck the two mules at the store”. Sarty is only ten, but he starts to separate loyalty from morality, and his father’s way of disciplining him, only accelerates the process. He already knows what is expected from him by the society, but he also knows, that he can not rebel against his father: "Later, twenty years later, he was to tell himself, "If I had said they wanted only truth, justice, he would have hit me again." But now he said nothing. He was not crying. He just stood there.” Sarty can not turn the tide just...

Find Another Essay On Transition from Son to Citizen in Faulkner's Short Story, Barn Burning

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

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

Sarty's Reliability as Narrator in William Faulkner's "Barn Burning".

955 words - 4 pages Sarty's Reliability as Narrator in "Barn Burning"The question of whether or not Sarty Snopes is a reliable narrator is sure to raise debate among various literary critics. Although the story is told from Sarty's perspective twenty years later, Faulkner also leads the reader to believe the events taking place are happening in real time. The essence of the story is actually more about how Abner's obsession with fire and disregard for authority and

Womens role in "Barn Burning" - A Short Story by William Faulkner

645 words - 3 pages In the short story "The Burning Barn" by William Faulkner the power is clearly yielded by the dominant father figure. Literary pieces from this time period are male dominated no matter what flaws the male characters might possess. The power is held by an ethically and morally corrupt man who does what he wants when he wants no matter the consequences. His wife and children are merely extra possessions and the tools he uses to get what he wants

Comparison essay on O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find" and Faulkner's "Barn Burning"

696 words - 3 pages I chose to write a comparison essay on Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find" and William Faulkner's "Barn Burning". Both of these stories share central characters with similar personalities as well as similar themes and conflicts through the stories.The Grandmother, in "A Good Man Is Hard to Find", is an old woman with old-fashioned ideas and manners. She considers herself to be a good person, but she is also very selfish and

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

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

1900 words - 8 pages his piece of the puzzle, and in doing so, he changes the outlook of its image for the rest of his existence.In conclusion, Hannah's "Water Liars," Carver's "Cathedral," and Faulkner's "Barn Burning" provide the reader with colorful round protagonists who all undergo personality changes. All three short stories have round characters that must overcome life's conflicts. In "Water Liars," the protagonist must learn to rise above his inner feelings of

Primary conflicts compared in Faulkner's "Barn Burning" and Godwin's "a Sorrowful Woman". Written for RIT Writing and Lit 1 required course.

2908 words - 12 pages In both Barn Burning, by William Faulkner, and A Sorrowful Woman, by Gail Godwin, the primary characters are torn between external expectations, and internal desires. Although both characters share a similar experience, they resolve their conflict in very different manners. Sarty, from Barn Burning, breaks from his family, betraying his father, and beginning a new life for himself. The protagonist of A Sorrowful Woman is unable to bear the

"Sarty's Runaway Life" An essay on what happens to Sarty the boy after the end of a shorty story called Barn Burning by William Fulkner

1820 words - 7 pages After Sarty ran away from his family he realized that his father said one truthful thing about him, "You're getting to be a man..." When Sarty was on his own he did not give in to his new world but instead raised his abilities to their highest level so he could survive. Sarty had always been a survivor, as well as one of the most controlled and intelligent Snopes. He ventured to the west to find respect and a new life. His father's

Loyalty to Family in Barn Burning by William Faulkner

701 words - 3 pages Loyalty to Family in Barn Burning by William Faulkner The short story "Barn Burning" by William Faulkner is a stark look at the struggle of a boy to try to do what is right, or do what is best for his family during the post Civil War era. The main character, Sartoris Snopes is a poor son of a migrant tenant farmer who, in the opening scene is being questioned about the burning of a farmers barn by his father, Abner Snopes. The boy is

Similar Essays

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

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

Faulkner's "Barn Burning" Charactors Essay

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

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