Barn Burning

Essay by ALP24High School, 11th grade October 2014

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Angelou Palma 2/8/13 ENG 120Barn Burning

William Faulkner's "Barn Burning" deals with the theme of morality and family. The story deals with inner turmoil Sarty Snopes faces as he decides what is wrong and right. Throughout the story, Sarty must continually make the choice of going along with or going against the actions of his father. Sarty's father values blood and loyalty over the law and Sarty's conscience struggles to conform with those ideas. Faulkner shows us that sometimes we have to make sacrifices to do what is right.

The story begins with Sarty's father, Abner, in court. He is being accused of burning a barn. As the Judge calls on Sarty to testify, Sarty forces himself to think "Enemy! Enemy!" ,showing his loyalty to his father. As they make their way out of the courthouse, boys shout "Barn burner!" at Abner. Sarty defends his father and gets into a brawl with a group of boys, further signifying his loyalty.

Sarty knows that his father is guilty, shown by his thought of "Maybe he's done satisfied now, now that he has…".His inability to complete the sentence shows his knowledge that his father had done something wrong. Despite the fact he was prepared to defend his father, Sarty still hoped that the incident will teach his father, showing his inner battle with right and wrong. Later that night, Abner strikes Sarty and threatens him, telling him that he needs to learn to "stick to his own blood" or he won't have any "blood to stick" to. Sarty is torn and feels trapped between doing what is right or sticking with his family.

Sarty's morality is again tested during an incident with a wealthy farm owner named Major De Spain. As Sarty and Abner go to Major De...