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Opening Statement: Set roughly years after the Civic War, William Faulkner’s short story “Barn Burning” dramatically depicts the kind of conflict among classes—how the rich benefit at expense of the poor and how the poor attain vengeance against them. Abner Snopes, a sharecropper antagonist, is a self-serving man who has his own ways of doing things and yet expects his family to assist him in doing his aims. Because of poverty, he resorts to robbery and to arson against the powerful upper class. Similarly, part of the story’s major theme is about the moral and emotional dilemma vividly expanded by Snopes’ son, young Colonel Sartoris Sarty, a 10-year old boy who was torn between loyalty to justice and honor versus loyalty to his own family. He acknowledges that he must stick with his own code of morality, telling the people the truth about his father burning the neighbor’s barn even though his father would be punished for doing so. But as he is constantly reminded by Abner the importance of blood-ties and the responsibilities of being a family member, the young boy is expected to lie to protect his father from being punished. In one sense, Sarty displayed a critical tale about the importance of decision-making; that the choice is the most necessary and is the center of all conflict (according to Book Rags’ critical review of “Barn Burning”)The story showed the struggle of the poor to live against the challenges of poverty during the year of 1800 as represented by Abner’s family. They exemplify how poor people during that certain time seem to be hopeless to improve their situation, depending largely on the power of the rich people.  In fact, half or more than half of Abner’s harvest goes in the hands of their feudal lords thus giving us the perfect example of how people tills the land whereas the rich benefits from the hard works of the poor. Abner’s character is somewhat static because he was highlighted as a man hollowed with emotions throughout the story. However, Abner’s quiet sullen personality can be seen as a remnant of the past wherein the poor are highly dominated by the wealthy men and yet receive no great amount of benefit from them. In his mind, he is strongly getting up to wrestle the social forces that purposefully turn him down. Thinking himself as David facing the Giant, Abner has had done his ways to mark the upper class as his equal to the point of affecting his family badly, ways in which are neither helpful nor beneficial to Sarty’s inner struggle.1.      Example: “I reckon I’ll have a word with the man that aims to begin tomorrow owning me body and soul for the next eight months.” (Faulkner, 1938). This statement straight from Abner’s mouth alone shows how their lives are often reliant to their landowners. They are at their mercy as they depend on food and producing a source of revenue for their family. As a result, the upper class feel and act as though they also own the poor laborers as their slaves and do nothing but own a piece of land that will be cultivated for them.A.    Abner’s attitude made a deep repercussion in shaping the conflict of the story. Abner burn barns as a sign of silent but violent dispute not only to the upper class but also to the culture of their society. Due this violent protest to hierarchal imbalance, he forced his family to live to different places, like the traditional nomadic people.  As stated earlier, his character is a product of the past and still continues to live through the memory of his history, refusing to accept the folkways they have and tried to be a deviant in their society.  Thus the entire story also told the problem of protecting a family from the harm that environment may create and yet the members within are doing their own destruction instead. In addition, it is important to note that it is not always Abner feels dominated and slaved by the wealthy people. He also possessed a great pride to those people having a lower status in their society and thus do not make any indication that he cares for their kind and culture.1.      Example:  The campfire episode noted why Abner burn barns. Faulkner through Sarty’s contemplation explains why in such fondness of Abner to make huge fire, he sought to make a small one that night. Thinking, Sarty had ran through the conclusion that perhaps Abner was hiding from the troops from the Civil War and so he had to protect himself by avoiding exposure of himself. On the other hand, Faulkner had an illustrious explanation of his nature. As what stated in the story, the fire “spoke to some deep mainspring” (Faulkner, 1938) explaining Abner’s character to protect his integrity. And as to what Joseph Murphy written in his review about “Barn Burning”, the fire–as a symbol of energy and power, symbolizes how others can victimize other people. The warning that the fire brings is where Abner hold his power, advertising a threat for someone who may want to contradict to what he wants and cross against his path.2.      Example: When Abner’s family arrived at de Spain mansion, it was only then that Abner feels superior. It as when he is at the presence of someone who is a black—specifically the butler in the mansion. In fact, he knows that no matter how a trash his condition is, he could come in the front door of the de Spain mansion even though the butler forbade him to only if the said butler is a black. Because in the South where the story took place, black men could not touch a white-men no matter what the circumstances is.B.     Abner’s insurgence showed its effects on his son Sarty.               According to a preview of an essay about the story, “Barn Burning” clearly tells an important relationship between a father and son, in a “hereditary and spiritual” type.      Sarty was torn between his loyalty to his family and his own sense of right and wrong. He knows very well that the means his father ways of earning and protecting for their family is wrong and yet made no effort to tell his father about it. Going through what you believe is right is an admirable trait even if it is in the expense of your own family. According to Daniel Brown’s email to director Michael Curtiz, Marvin in the movie “Cabin in the Cotton” in the year 1932 was amazingly explicated a strong but struggling character against his own will versus his supervisor’s will. Sarty’s character has something in common with Marvin, relating the two characters together. Being a sharecropper’s son, Marvin became an apple of the eye of the plantation owner to help him in deceiving the farmers which has told the story a personal dilemma for loyalty and self-respect of a man. This reason has made Marvin and Sarty’s character adjacent to each other. In Sarty’s mind he do not wishes to harm his family in any way, but he only wants do what is just and that is basically his primary reason for going to the large house and warning them about what his father was about to do.1.         Example: Ain’t you going to even send a nigger? (Faulkner, 1938). In this Sarty’s statement we could already see that his beliefs of what is right or not prevailed over his wish to stick with his family making his father’s enemy his own.2.         Example: Faulkner emphasized the loyalty for justice when Sarty compared the mansion with the place of law. “Hit’s big as a courthouse…They are safe from him”. Sarty thinks that his father would be affected by the grandeur of the mansion as it did to him so perhaps his father would stop burning barns. For that moment, he even felt a sudden feeling of peace and happiness. Sarty’s dream for his father and family shows a vivid innocence of his youthful mind. But then, in the end he got disappointed.Conclusion: Each and every one of us must value the importance of family ties. True, no one can help a person more than his family. But then, responsibility of a family member to stick with the family has its limits, too. Our sense of right and wrong is developed within the family but it is also important to let justice prevail to all societies, even at the expense of a family member. We can also conclude that all the characters in the story, including Abner and Sarty are all victims of the impairment life. It is because Abner did not wish to bring harm to his family; rather he only wants to do what in he feels right. To Sarty, he also wanted justice for the people that’s why he was compelled run away from his family, continue to live through what he thinks is right, and lastly modify the life that he had. This brings hope to young Sarty that perhaps there is something more in his future rather than his family sulking for their own failures. It also gives us an idea that it is our choices that made us miserable or not.References:Book Rags. “Barn Burning Study Guide”. 2006. <>Baker, Lyman. “Writing Assignment on William Faulkner’s Barn Burning”. 9 Nov. 2000. 30 June 2007 <>.Brown, David. “Cabin in the Cotton.” Email to Michael Curtiz. 1 Dec. 2007.“A Rose for Emily and Barn Burning” Direct Essays Access: Essays and Term Papers. 2002. 30 June 2007 <>.Murphy, Joseph C. “William Faulkner, 1938”

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