The Use of Point of View in Barn Burning

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Deeper Insight by Use of Point of View
The majority of authors use literary elements to build up their story. However, the author of the short story “Barn Burning” uses one particular element to build up his own story in a very unique format. William Faulkner uses various literary elements in the story, but the most critical one is point of view. Faulkner uses point of view to develop characters, the theme, and the plot of the story.

Faulkner’s use of point of view helps the reader understand who the characters are, how the characters develop, and aids in understanding the characters actions throughout the story. Faulkner uses a nonparticipant narrator as well as Sarty’s thoughts and views for point of view. This unique usage provides readers to infer and interpret the characters. This point of view raises an interesting question. Does the narrator defend Abner throughout the story? The illustration of the fire building passage provides us with proof of the defense. “…that the element of fire spoke to some deep mainspring of his father's being, as the element of steel or of powder spoke to other men, as the one weapon for the preservation of integrity, else breath were not worth the breathing, and hence to be regarded with respect and used with discretion.” (Yunis 1). The narrator speaks of Abner’s use of fires as how he dealt with being in the lowest of low classes and his feeling of injustice. By the narrator focusing on the barn burnings in this way, it makes the reader feel sympathy for Sarty and the rest of his family without ever having to state it. Not only does it provide the reader with sympathy for the family, but also a better understanding of Abner. If the narrator did not inform us of the lowness of life Abner lived then the beating of his children, his unlawfulness, his disrespect, and his barn burning would just imply that he was evil. Abner was indeed a very evil man, but the defense of Abner by the narrator gives the reader a better...
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