Barn Burning

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A Literary Analysis of “Barn Burning”
In the beginning, “Barn Burning” appears to be a story about an oppressive father and his family, who seems to be caught up in his oppression. As you read further in to the story you find that the story is focused on a young son of a poor sharecropper, who has to struggle with his father’s arsonist tendencies which are destroying his families’ reputation and life style, while coming to terms with his own morality. The young son, whose name is Colonel Sartoris Snopes, is the protagonist in this story. Sarty (the boy’s nickname) disapproves of his father’s destructive actions and soon has to decide whether to be loyal to his family or give in to his own values of morality. Abner Snopes, who is the boy’s father, is the antagonist in the story. Abner Snopes is a very angry man, who despises the aristocracy class of people whom he has to work for and throughout the story constantly displays this hatred. The story is narrated in third person and follows a typical format. In Faulkner’s writing style, he uses descriptive dictation to draw the reader’s in to the story. In the first paragraph Faulkner introduces us to the main character in the story, Sarty. Subsequently, throughout the story we are introduced to the other family members. The setting in which Sarty’s conflict is recognized is at a trial, where his father is being accused of setting a barn on fire. This is also where Faulkner allows us a glimpse of Sarty’s internal moral dilemma in regards to is father’s actions. Faulkner also introduces three other settings that which have important thematic interest in the story. Throughout the story we are shown the emotional turmoil that Sarty and his family endure because of his father’s destructive nature. Faulkner uses symbolic themes such as; fire, blood and law which are used to describe what Sarty has to deal with in regards to…...

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