Barn Burning by William Faulkner

Length: 4 Pages 1024 Words

Destruction by burning can be seen in more than one way in "Barn Burning" by William Faulkner. The most obvious act of burning down barns is an outward expression of Abner's inner turmoil for the life he bitterly hates. The impact of Abner's violence can be seen in Abner's family, especially Sarty as he comes to see the destruction his father causes. This paper will examine the impact of Abner's anger and how it effects his family. Abner's anger causes his son to feel distant from him. We can see how Sarty comes to realize this only as a grown man when we are told, "Later, twenty years later, he was to tell himself, `If I had said they wanted only truth, justice, he would have hit me again'" (477). We can also pull from the text that Abner is able to tolerate his landlords' insults because he knows he can always get even by burning a barn. It seems as though Abner experiences great pleasure of being able to determine the time and place of a burning--generally after he has found another place for the family to live. The burning not only allows Abner to control his own anger; the burning allows him to control his landlord's reaction. Because he is burning down precious property, Abner almost guarante Continue...


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Abner's anger also impacts Sarty because it skews Sarty's thinking. Sarty is constantly bombarded with feeling of inadequacy because his father does not believe that they can rise above their situation. In this way, we can see how his behavior is destructive even to himself. We are told, People whose lives are a part of this peace and dignity are behind his touch, he no more to them than a buzzing wasp: capable of stinging for a little moment but that's all; the spell of this peace and dignity rendering even the barns and stable and cribs which belong to it impervious to the puny flames he might contrive. (476) In conclusion, the impact of Abner's violence leads to many types of destruction. Through this insight, we know that Sarty will eventually have to choose between his family and delicate issues of morality. He might be injured from his father's anger, but he is also strong, for even after four days of starving outside, he knows he will not look back. In fact, we are told it is, "the one weapon for the preservation of integrity, else breath were not worth the breathing, and hence to be regarded with respect and used with discretion" (476). In this way, the impact of Abner's anger controls the family. He wont git no ten bushels neither. If he wanted it done different why didn't he wait and tell you how' He won't git no twenty bushels! . Sarty anticipated his father's reactions because he was not able to predict what his father would do. He sees it, but he cannot predict it.

PROFESSIONAL ESSAYS:

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