Barn Burning, William Faulkner

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The Old South has a lot of hatred. This hatred is seen through the rich and poor, north and south, and through generations of families. William Faulkner’s, “Barn Burning” illustrates many of these feelings. Sarty Snopes is the son of Abner Snopes. Abner Snopes is a brutal and demanding father. Abner is a victim of the poor south and The Civil War. Benjamin DeMott writes,” together with the ignorance and brutality in Abner Snopes, there is a ferocious, primitive undeceivedness in his reading of terms of the relationship between the rich and poor, lucky and unlucky, advantaged and disadvantaged” (517). Abner pushes this brutality and hatred onto this son. Sarty begins to feel the destructive nature of his father. This constant and unstable nature of his father begins to make Sarty question his morals. Sarty’s decision to tells on his father is the result of three main events: the terror Sarty feels during his father’s trail, Sarty’s father is abusive towards him, and his father’s plan to burn Major DeSpain’s house.

One reason Sarty tells of his father in the end is because of the terror he feels over his father’s trail. Sarty is intimidated by the men in the courtroom, “He saw the men between himself and the table part and become a lane of grim faces” (Faulkner 503). The judge orders Abner out of the country. As the Snopes walk out of the courtroom, Sarty could feel the crowds’ accusing glares. When they make it to the next tenant, it is not long before Abner is in court again. Sarty soon realizes he is in a court room again, when he sees the man with glasses. Sarty shouts out, “He ain’t done it! He ain’t burnt…” (510). Abner quickly sends Sarty back to the wagon. Sarty stays in the courtroom instead of going to the wagon. Sarty wants to stay and hear his father’s fate.

Sarty’s father is abusive towards him because he fails to always put family first. While setting in the courtroom Sarty realizes, “The smell and sense just a little of...
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