Barn Burning, The New Social Order of the South
Although many political and economic changes took place following the Civil War, it was very evident in William Faulkner’s Barn Burning that the impact on the social lives of the people living in the South were the most difficult to overcome. He utilizes the new tension between the social classes to create a compelling short story of a boy and his father, but more important, using the family to represent the change in society, the change between good and evil.
The new social order after the civil war was a cause of tension between Abner Snopes and his surrounding communities. In William Faulkner’s Barn Burning Abner is portrayed as a man with much insecurity, which causes him to lash out at the people that were better off than he. His lack of prosperity and wealth leads him to be hostile towards the people wealthier than his family “‘I aim to. I don’t figure to stay in a country among people who…’ He said something unprintable and vile.” (Faulkner 2) While Abner was not found guilty of arson the family is forced to leave on account of their own safety because of how the public viewed their family, “’Barn burner!’” (3) shouts one of the other citizens, showing the reader how much Abner and his family are un-liked. However, his choices do not change how his son sees him, yet. Abner and his way of dealing with issues begin to take a toll on the family, and most of all his son Sardy. His excessive anger and violence begin to change how Sardy feels about him, and he starts to question if his father is a good role model. Sensing this, Abner decides to intervene before Sardy sees what kind of a man he really is and he begins to question whether following his father is the right thing to do “’You’re going to be a man. You got to learn. You got to learn to stick to your own blood or you ain’t going to have any blood to stick to you.’” (5) Despite Abner’s efforts Sardy has already began to wonder about his dad’s...
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