Barn Burning

             William Faulkner’s Barn Burning is a story about a poor family that moves from one rural Mississippi town to another because of the father’s, Abner Snopes, actions. The story begins at Abner’s hearing for setting fire to The Harris’s barn after a dispute over a bothersome pig. We get a glimpse into his son Sarty’s mind and see that Abner has completely brainwashed him into thinking that everybody is their enemy and out to get them. Although Sarty maintains his loyalty to his father for as long as he can, he is eventually driven by numerous reasons to leave home.
             One of the reasons Sarty leaves is because he realizes there is a life out there for him that is not full of the fear, grief, and despair caused by his father that he feels now. He is called to the stand to testify and thinks to himself “He aims for me to lie, he thought, again with that frantic grief and despair.”(page 398) He is so blinded by these emotions that he “could not see that the Justice’s face was kindly” and saw him only as his and his father’s enemy, though the judge had done no harm to them.(page 398) As he is working the fields with his brother, he hopes that everything vanishes, “corn, rug, fire, the terror and grief; the being pulled two ways like between two teams of horses—gone, done with forever and ever.” (page 405) He also gains a sense of hope as he approaches the de Spain’s time for the first time. Even his father could not jog Sarty’s memory back to thinking of his despair.
             Another reason he leaves is because he begins to realize that his father is not a good person and that he does not have to put up with his father’s abuse any longer. He begins to realize that what his father does is wrong, but cannot even admit it to himself. After the first trial he thinks that “Maybe he’s done satisfied now, now that he has…” but then he trails off, unable to finish the thought.(page 399) He is starting to re...

More Essays:

APA     MLA     Chicago
Barn Burning. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:43, January 19, 2017, from