Barn Burning: Sarty's Transformation Into Adulthood
In William Faulkner's story, "Barn Burning", we find a young man who struggles with the relationship he has with his father. We see Sarty, the young man, develop into an adult while dealing with the many crude actions and ways of Abner, his father. We see Sarty as a puzzled youth who faces the questions of faithfulness to his father or faithfulness to himself and the society he lives in. His struggle dealing with the reactions which are caused by his father's acts result in him thinking more for himself as the story progresses. Faulkner uses many instances to display the developing of Sarty's conscience as the theme of the story "Barn Burning." Three instances in which we can see the developing of a conscience in the story are the ways that Sarty compliments and admires his father, the language he uses when describing his father, and the way he obeys his father throughout the story.
The first instance in which we can see a transition from childhood to adulthood in Sarty's life is in the way he compliments his father. Sarty admires his father very much and wishes that things could change for the better throughout the story. At the beginning of the story he speaks of how his fathers "...wolflike independence..."(145) causes his family to depend on almost no one. He believes that they live on their own because of his fathers drive for survival. When Sarty mentions the way his father commands his sisters to clean a rug with force "...though never raising his voice..."(148), it shows how he sees his father as strict, but not overly demanding. He seems to begin to feel dissent towards his father for the way he exercises his authority in the household. As we near the end of the story, Sarty's compliments become sparse and have a different tone surrounding them. After running from the burning barn, he spoke of his dad in an almost heroic sense. He wanted everyone to remember his dad as a brave...
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