Burn Burning

Topics: Barn Burning, American films, William Faulkner Pages: 2 (752 words) Published: March 29, 2013
Functional Significant
In William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning” certain objects function symbolically. One object is blood. The blood symbolizes the unity of the family. Loyalty and family ties are symbolic in the blood as well. Fire is also an important symbol in "Barn Burning,” fire is in almost every section of the story but the fire that counts is the fire Abner builds the night the family camps out before arriving at the de Spain mansion. Another symbol is the wagon on moving day and spring. To begin with, blood comes up a lot in "Barn Burning" though usually in terms of the blood shared by relatives. At the beginning of the story Sarty smells something besides food in the store. He smells "the old fierce pull of blood". Its obvious Sarty is talking about the blood bond he feels exists between him and his father. At this point Sarty seems to think this family bond is important. But, something changes when his father tells him: "You've got to learn to stick to your own blood or you aren’t going to have any blood to stick to you". Abner is threatening Sarty with abandonment and suggesting that Sarty is responsible for keeping his father alive. Sarty not sticking by his father's blood could threaten his father's life. Ultimately, and perhaps even in this moment, Sarty realizes that he doesn't want "to have any blood to stick to him." For Sarty this "old fierce pull of blood" symbolizes the one-sidedness of his father's idea of blood ties, and the relative ease with which these ties can be broken. Furthermore, fire is another object that functions symbolically. For example, the fire Abner builds the night the family camps out before arriving at the de Spain mansion. The persona describes the fire Abner builds that night, and the fires he always builds when camping, as "neat, niggard almost, shrewd. This is an odd moment because the persona tells us that if Sarty were older, he might have wondered why his father built small campfires. At the end the persona...
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