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Barn Burning Essay

975 words - 4 pages

What differentiates a normal short story from one that its readers
just can’t put down? For some readers, it is a realistic and relatable
character. For others, good short stories are the ones that instill a
theme, an idea within them. I believe that Barn Burning by William
Faulkner falls into this category. Sarty is the story’s main
character. His personal predicament and resulting conscious difficult
decision keep the story moving. He faces a moral dilemma, in which he
must decide between abandoning his blood or fighting for what he
believes is right.

Sarty only knows one way of life, and that is one of paternal abuse
and poverty. Initially, it is made clear that Sarty is ...view middle of the document...

Because of who his dad is, Sarty
cannot be honest without defying his own family.

The story quickly moves along during a scene in which Sarty and his
father are venturing to Major de Spain's house. Sarty describes Major
de Spain’s home as "… big as a courthouse he thought quietly, with a
surge of peace and joy whose reason he could not have thought into
words, being too young for that: They are safe from him. People whose
lives are a part of this peace and dignity are beyond his touch..." By
comparing it to a courthouse, Sarty allows the home to symbolize the
beautifulness of society.

The reader is made to wonder how Sarty's father will react to Major de
Spain's home; "...his father held and saw the stiff foot come squarely
own in a pile of fresh droppings where a horse had stood in the drive
and which his father could have avoided by a simple change of stride."
Here, Faulkner makes the reader suspicious of what will happen next,
while also making symbolic comparisons. As readers are informed,
Sarty's dad very simply could have avoided the droppings with a
"simple change of stride." This imagery shows what type of man Sarty's
father really is. He is truly a inflexible, disrespectful, and
polluted individual. Instad of easily changing his ways, but instead
chooses to continue on with his unfavorable ways.

The scene’s final occurence is the revealing of how Sarty's father and
moral society come together. In the scene it is revealed that "...the
boy watched him pivot on the good leg and saw the stiff foot drag
around the arc of the turning, leaving a final long and fading smear."
Faulkner's usage of imagery is what truly aids the reader to see and
feel what Sarty does. We, the reader, are left...

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