An analysis of "Barn Burning" by William Faulkner

Essay by jbyersCollege, UndergraduateA-, June 2007

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This naïve narration began with Abner being on trial for the destruction of a neighboring farmer’s barn. Abner was a dominating father whose son, Sarty, was having an inner battle in connection with his father’s way of showing his hatred for society and Sarty’s own beliefs. Abner was a discontent man who lived his life based on loyalty to his “blood”-family. The moral dilemma is more evident when Sarty and his family moved to the property of Major de Spain, under the notion that they would farm de Spain’s land and give de Spain a portion of what was harvested. After the family settled into their new home, Abner and Sarty went to de Spain’s house to have a word with him. William Faulkner implores an important symbol in regard to de Spain’s house and the conflict that Sarty felt within himself; “Hits big as a courthouse” (182) symbolizing Sarty’s need for justice.

On the way to the house of de Spain Abner walked with such overpowering confidence and non-consideration, he went right though a pile of horse manure. Abner then barreled past the manservant and treaded his feet onto de Spain’s rug, and when asked to leave, turned in a way that it would be smeared and set into the rug. Abner showed his lack of appreciation for society and the higher class when Major de Spain confronted Abner and told him to clean his rug. Abner responded by taking a rock and rubbing the rug so hard that the rug got holes and became permanently ruined. The result of Abner’s action was a trial, in which Abner was ordered to pay 10 bushels of corn over and beyond their prior contract, for the cost of the ruined rug. Sarty had always been told that the limp in his...