Barn Burning Essay - Essay Prowess

Barn Burning Essay


Kindly ADD to CART and Purchase an editable WORD Document at $5.99 ONLY

Barn Burning


Abner Snopes, Colonel Sartoris Snopes’ father is the chief source of conflict in the story due to his repeated destructive impulses.


As Faulkner provides, Abner Snopes once served in the army where he stole horses and specialized in committing arson. In the narrative, Abner lived his youthful life, “that niggard blaze was the living fruit of nights passed during those four years in the woods hiding from all men, blue or gray, with his strings of horses (captured horses, he called them) (3). His niggardly nature creates tension within the family while his antisocial tendencies nurture tensions in the community.


Abner Snopes only believes that his family is all that matters and the other members of community are not concerned about his family’s welfare. Faulkner’s narrative provides that “You got to learn to stick to your own blood or you ain’t going to have any blood to stick to you. Do you think either of them, any man there this morning would? Don’t you know all they wanted was a chance to get at me because they knew I had them beat? Eh?”(3).


Colonel Sartoris Snopes seems to have a good understanding that community life is dependent on law and order. It is out of the fear for his niggardly father that he hesitates to tell the truth in the first court trial. In the second court trial, he follows the father’s advice “to learn to stick to your own blood” and proceeds to lie in court in an attempt to protect him (3). However, he goes on to warn Major de Spain’s household.


Colonel Sartoris Snopes is often lost to his inner thoughts which are essentially a battle between doing right or wrong; between courage with integrity and fear. Relative to others in the narrative, the young boy’s thoughts shows that he seems alone not by his own volition but as a result of his father’s negative relations with them. The author employs a dialect that shows low quality or not education at all due to poverty which manifest through the boy’s fear in the midst of biting hunger.


The author describes them as “stooped, broad, lethargic; stooping, they presented an incredible expanse of pale cloth and a flutter of tawdry ribbons” (6). This description signifies attempts to dress as the other members of the community though in a very poor way. The fact that they are huge and the youngest child thin implies lazy and selfish attitudes that seek to always receive but not give.


The mother and aunt appear in only scenes where the young child is present and undergoing some form of hurt while the father is oblivious of Colonel Sartoris Snopes pain. As provided in the narrative, “”He’s hurt. I got to get some water and wash his…”” (2). Prior to running to warn off Major Spain’s household of the impending arson attack, his aunt supports Sartoris courage to do the right thing.


The author depicts the women as persons with no social status in Abner Snopes world. The can indeed talk but nothing they say is taken to consideration. There are similar to slaves working at Major Spain’s large home. The women in Abner’s home appear to be no more than slaves.


This particular narrative encompasses themes like courage, family, youth, society and class, choices, as well as justice and judgment. Courage as exhibited by Sartoris in his youth changes the status of the family as Abner is killed. The choice Abner makes are detrimental to his family but takes no consideration with this regard. However, Sartoris actions present the family with an opportunity to redeem itself in the face of a society that seems considerate to the poor.


Faulkner uses a language that clearly paints the picture of a family in very unfortunate economic position. Poor Sartoris seems ever hungry and in fear of a father who is essentially a terrorist in a community of people who work hard to progress to better quality of life. The judge is just as Mr. Harris is honest implying that the society is generally an honest one keen on law and order.



Work Cited

Faulkner William. Barn Burning. N.d. Web. 24 apr. 2017. <>.