Barn Burning Essay

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Max Coats
Mrs. Varnado
English 102 5th Hour
30 January 2012
The Real Man in “Barn Burning”
In William Faulkner's short story “Barn Burning” there is an underlying transformation Sarty Snopes undergoes that is not necessarily put into focus for most readers. The situations Sarty finds himself in throughout the story are of the kind which shape him and require him to grow as both a person as well as in the mind of the reader. The changes in which Sarty undergoes throughout the story closely resemble the kind of changes that would be thought to be 'coming of age' transitions.

In the beginning of the story the reader is immediately introduced to a young and somewhat distrot Sarty Snopes. Evidence of his detached nature can be found in the opening scene of the story. In the scene Sarty is attending his fathers, Abner Snopes, trial for allegedly burning down a fellow farmer's barn, but throughout the session is unable to stay focused on the matter at hand opting instead to turn his attention toward his sense of smell which filled his thoughts with cheese. Also found in this first scene is that Sarty's thoughts actions, and opinions are for the most part dominated by his father. For example, when Sarty is called by the Justice of the Peace to testify he automatically thinks to himself, “Enemy! Enemy!” (Faulkner 187), almost like it has been engraved in his mind that everyone is out to get his father. Clearly, judging by the beginning of the story Sarty has plenty of growing up to do before the reader sees him as anything but just a kid.

However, as the story progresses Sarty begins to go through subtle changes that the reader can pick up on. These changes really begin when Sarty actually starts to analyze his father. Thinking about why he is the way he is Sarty recalls his father and how he used to steal horses and sell them during the civil war from both sides. This shows that Sarty may be questioning his father’s methods and whether or not he...
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