Conflict in "Barn Burning" Book Review by Nicky

An analysis of the conflict facing Sarty in William Faulkner's short story "Barn Burning".
# 145930 | 1,276 words | 0 sources | 2010 | US
Published on Dec 07, 2010 in Literature (American)

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The paper discusses how Sarty, in William Faulkner's short story "Barn Burning," realizing that there is something wrong with a father that keeps burning down buildings, faces the conflict in determining whether his loyalties should lie with his father or society. The paper describes how Abner, Sarty's father, makes it very clear to Sarty how important family loyalty is, and while he has complete control over each member of the family, he is a symbol of the frustrations of the poor itinerant farmer. The paper finally shows how Sarty chose to follow his own path instead of staying with his family.

From the Paper:

"Sarty's dilemma is not as simple as it may seem. The choice between stopping a violent and mean-spirited arsonist or not does appear to be an easy one, even if that violent and mean-spirited arsonist is your own father. But Sarty's tie to his father is very strong; in the opening scene, he won't even admit to himself what his father had done, thinking "Maybe he's done satisfied now, now that he has...stopping himself, not to say it out loud even to himself" (Faulkner, 162). Sarty is really just a child, and though he has no fear and feels no pain fighting other children in defending his father's name, he cannot face the painful reality that his father will continue to make his life miserable through his uncontrollable anger and his unique and destructive way of expressing it. Even though his father has a kind of evil in his core--or at least he seems to in this story--Sarty cannot simply give up on the father he loves."

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