Read full document

Barn Burning Argument

  • By
  • April 2006
  • 627 Words
  • 5 Views
Page 1 of 2
Barn Burning Argument

"He went on down the hill toward the dark woods within which the liquid silver voices of the birds called unceasing- the rapid and urgent beating of the urgent and quiring heart of the late spring night. He did not look back." Sarty's final decision in Barn Burning is usually said to represent his decision to uphold truth over family. However, Sarty's decision is hasty and has little benefit.

His choice essentially consists of fleeing his problems; probably not the best option in terms of seeking truth. It is apparent that his father Abner is most likely dead, "knowing it was too late yet still running even after he heard the shot, and an instant later, two shots…" Sarty's family now faces the world without Abner or a source of income. However, with Sarty's help it may be possible for the family to maintain some level of financial support. On his own Sarty cannot possibly provide for himself at the age of 10. Abner provides a relevant observation. "You got to learn to stick to your own blood or you ain't going to have any blood to stick to." If Abner is in fact not dead, fleeing him accomplishes nothing. Instead Sarty should at some point stand up to his father and prevent his abuse and crime.

Abner's actions in Barn Burning at first appear to be entirely without reason or moral consequence. However, it is possible to provide some level of justification for Abner's actions. Abner's destruction of property can be interpreted as a socioeconomic protest. "He stood for a moment, plated stiffly on the stiff foot, looking back at the house." "Pretty and whit ain't it? That's sweat. Nigger's sweat. Maybe it ain't white enough yet to suit him. Maybe he wants to mix some whit sweat with it." Major De Spain owns his property at the expense of black and white labor. Abner feels that he is doing work to make one man rich and his actions are a form of protest. Abner's abuse is the result of fearful coldness to those who try to communicate the...