Barn Burning

Good Essays
Freshman English Comp II
19 February 2013
William Faulkner: Barn Burning: Violent Relationship Dynamics William Faulkner’s Barn Burning is reflective of the dynamics domestic violence plays in family relationships and this is shown in the traits exhibited in the characters in the story. This is evident in the relationship between the children with their parents, the wife with her husband and Abner with his employers. Abner’s controlling nature creates constant conflict throughout the story. Abner, who is cold, violent and emotionless is known for his independence and anger. He is convinced of his right to unleash his destructive revenge on anyone who has wronged him. Almost as soon as the story opens Abner’s nature is deliberate. When Abner speaks for the first time in court his voice is cold and harsh. His response also conveys an attitude of verbal abuse when the Judge tells him to flee the country he responds “I aim to. I don’t figure to stay in a country among people who…” (127). The sentence ends abruptly because as the author states, what was said next is unprintable indicating something extremely derogatory has been said. Then Abner takes his rage out on his son by jerking him back and demanding he go get the wagon (128). Abner had obviously been stewing over what happened in court when the Judge called Sarty up to testify against his father. Abner accuses Sarty of almost betraying the family blood by telling on him for burning the barn. Because of this Sarty feels torn when making decisions between right and wrong and maintaining a loyalty to his family.
Another way Abner’s abusive behavior is displayed is through neglect. It is not standard for a father to disregard that a quality of living is a necessity for his wife and children. He barely provides a place for his family to live and the children are always starving. The family is constantly being uprooted due to Abner’s emotional instability. Therefore the only provision of material possessions

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    In both William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning” and D. H. Lawrence’s “ The Rocking Horse Winner”, the author’s give us a glimpse of two poor families who suffer through similar problems in different ways and situations. The comparison shows how in “Barn Burning” because of Abner’s recklessness and cruelty, his son Sartoris Snopes and family are unable to get into the larger society. In “The Rocking Horse Winner,” the mother’s greed for money and her behavior with her children and husband forces her son, Paul, to find a way to get more money. It shows how the behavior of Abner in “Barn Burning” and that of Paul’s mother in “The Rocking Horse Winner” affects their families…

    • 1231 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The short story "Barn Burning" by William Faulkner is a stark look at the struggle of a boy to try to do what is right, or do what is best for his family during the post Civil War era. The main character, Sartoris Snopes is a poor son of a migrant tenant farmer who, in the opening scene is being questioned about the burning of a farmers barn by his father, Abner Snopes. The boy is torn between choosing what is right, telling the truth, or lying to protect his father. The boy is not forced to tell to judge about his father burning the barn, but is certain he would have told if asked. The father is a soldier from the Civil War and has knack for burning down the barns of those who cross his path. Faulkner uses the symbol of blood to illustrate the theme of loyalty to the family.…

    • 694 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Barn Burning

    • 315 Words
    • 2 Pages

    “The Bass, the River, and Shiela Mant” is a story about a young boy who thought he loved a young girl. He spent countless days trying to impress her and get her attention and when he finally does he soon realizes not everyone is as perfect as they look on the outside and good looks can only get you so far.…

    • 315 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Better Essays

    The readers are introduced to the protagonist and main character, 10-year old Colonel Sartoris at the opening of the story where the setting is a court for the justice of peace and Sarty is to testify against his father the, antagonist, Abner Snopes, who is an angry, destructive, and a morally dysfunctional man who has been accused of burning a barn. In the beginning of the story, Sarty is certain that the man who accused his father of burning his barn is his and his father's enemy. He stands behind his father, his own blood with loyalty instead of supporting the justice of the court. For example, “…our enemy he thought in that despair; ourn! Mine and hisn both! He’s my father!” (262). Although, Sarty is convinced that his father’s enemy is his as well, he also is scared because he has a loss of hope and sorrow as he knows his father was wrong for having the “enemy’s” barn burned, but didn’t want to betray his father. Upon, Sarty’s discovery of being called to testify he didn’t want to lie, but knew he would be forced to do it based on his father’s expectations; this bothered Sarty as his heart was full of sorrow and pain. When Mr. Harris calls Sarty to testify before the court, this is where Sarty’s conflict occurs. Sarty states his full name when requested by the justice, Sarty stated his full name, “Colonel Sartoris Snopes”, the justice stated, “I reckon any boy named for Colonel Sartoris in this country can’t help but tell the truth, can they?” (263).…

    • 1370 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Better Essays

    In William Faulkner’s short stories “A Rose for Emily” and “Barn Burning” the characters are both guilty of committing terrible crimes. However, Miss Emily in “A Rose for Emily” and Abner Snopes in “Barn Burning” are both portrayed very differently from each other. A few things to consider while reading these short stories is how each of these characters is characterized, how the author generates sympathy for these characters, and the order in which the events in these stories occur.…

    • 1131 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    William Faulkner has written some of the most unique novels and short stories of any author, and, to this day, his stories continue to be enjoyed by many. Both “Barn Burning” and “A Rose for Emily” tell about the life of southern people and their struggles with society, but Faulkner used the dramatic settings of these two stories to create a mood unlike any other and make the audience feel like they too were a part of these southern towns. These two stories have many similarities in there setting, but they also have many differences to that make them unique and interesting.…

    • 1354 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    William Faulkner is known as one America's greatest authors. In fact, his short stories, "Barn Burning," and "A Rose for Emily," are two of the best-known stories in American literature. Both are examples of the reflection of contemporary Southern American values in his work. “Barn Burning” and “A Rose for Emily” are two stories both written by William Faulkner. “Barn Burning” has a theme of family loyalty verses loyalty to the law. “A Rose for Emily” has a theme of power by death. Emily is thought of as a monument, but at the same time she is pitied and often irritating, demanding to live life on her own terms. Awkward and eerie, versus exciting and dramatic, though written by the same author, the two stories have very contrasting themes, characters and settings.…

    • 2378 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    A great American writer was born on September 25, 1897. William Falkner was the oldest of four boys who lived in northern Oxford, Mississippi. Falkner refers to the town as, “a little postage stamp of native soil.” Falkner first became interested in poetry in his early teens. Falkner enjoyed playing football until he suffered a broken nose. Falkner failed at many aspects in his life; he dropped out of high school after receiving a “D” in English shortly before graduation. He tried to enlist in the army but was rejected because he was too short. He studied at the University of Mississippi, only to leave without a degree. He struggled to hold a job. In 1920, Falkner changed the spelling of his name to Faulkner upon publishing his first book of poetry. Falkner soon married Estelle Oldham Franklin, his childhood sweetheart. Struggling for money Faulkner would travel to and from Hollywood to work on scripts, creating a never ending strain on his family life. Away from home he secretly carried on a series of affairs. In 1946 he won a Nobel Prize for Peace. By then his health was in a traumatic state from hard drinking. His wife’s drug addiction and declining health only added to the gruesome family situation. Faulkner died in 1962 from a horse riding incident. In the New York Times obituary critics stated that “Mr. Faulkner’s writing showed an obsession with murder, rape, incest, suicide, greed and general depravity that did not exist anywhere but in the authors mind.” How true that statement is proven in Faulkner’s “Barn Burning” and “A Rose for Emily.”…

    • 925 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    BArn Burning Essay

    • 1058 Words
    • 3 Pages

    In William Faulkner’s Barn Burning, Sarty Snopes's dad, Abner, has a thing for burning down his landlords' barn, and he wants Sarty join him, or at least cover for him. Sarty knows barn burning is wrong, but doesn't want to betray his dad. Throughout the story, Faulkner allows the readers witness how in 1890 Mississippi the indictment of social classes started uproar in a character such as the narrator’s father, Abner; the narrator’s story is also symbolic (throughout) of what was to come in their family’s next move. Throughout the story, Faulkner uses symbolism, setting, and his tone and style to reveal to the reader what the Snopeses life was to become — a flame of burning hope.…

    • 1058 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Abner's abuse is the result of fearful coldness to those who try to communicate the…

    • 642 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    In William Faulkner's short story, "Barn Burning," the author uses a writing technique that he often favored called "perspectivism," which is defined as:…

    • 592 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Racism in Burning Barn

    • 635 Words
    • 3 Pages

    The main theme that I observed in “Barn Burning” that I though would be relevant for response was the otherness of Sarty. For all his young life Sarty has had the concept of blood loyalty beaten into him by his father. Abner tell young Sarty, “You got to learn to stick to your own blood or you ain’t going to have any blood to stick to you.” This meaning that in Abner’s eyes if you don’t back up your family then who is going to back you up when the times get rough? After Abner’s last barn burning escapade Sarty must choose between following what his father has always told him and be loyal to his family or be loyal to what he knows in his heart and conscience to be right. Talk about a damned if you do damned if you don’t situation. If Sarty were to tell the truth he would certainly become alienated from his family and have nowhere to go, but if he did not he would have the blood of innocent people on his hands.…

    • 635 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    William Faulkner’s commitment to depicting “the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself” (245) find perfect expression in “Barn Burning,” in which Sarty is torn between his growing realization of his father’s depravity and his innate conviction that there is another, better way of being in the world.…

    • 614 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Miss Emily is such a sympathetic character than Abner since her father has locked up her freedom of love, which eventually leads her to murder. Miss Emily and Abner are both difference on their family’s status. Abner dominates the whole family and community while Miss Emily is the one who being controlled by her father. In "Barn Burning," Faulkner illustrates…

    • 415 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    The culture in the United States of America varies from region to region. The South has its own unique form of culture. This unique capacity was captured by several authors in the form of literature. Southern literature corresponds with each other in terms of common history, sense of community, racism, religion, land tension, social class, and dialect. William Faulkner, an American author, was able to capture the beauty of Southern literature by writing short stories such as “A Rose for Emily” and Absalom Absalom just to mention a few. He was able to vividly express the positive and negative consequences that came along with the changes in the South. William Faulkner incorporates poverty, family, and patriarchy as the three major Southern literature themes in “Barn Burning.”…

    • 1441 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Powerful Essays