Part of the story's greatness is due to its major theme, the conflict between loyalty to one's family and loyalty to honor and justice.
Saturday, November 25, Short Story Analysis: He is a masterful storyteller, possesses a deep understanding of human nature and psychology, is breathtakingly innovative in form and style, and captures the sounds and rhythms of American English, albeit in the southern style.
I need to make a point to read at least a story or two every year from his Collected Stories. Quotes are taken from the Collected Stories edition. Here is the great opening paragraph: The boy, crouched on his nail keg at the back of the crowded room, knew he smelled cheese, and more: There is so much packed in that little paragraph that I need to parse it almost sentence by sentence.
Harris is in court before a judge accusing Abner of burning down his barn.
The boy smells cheese and fish, a sensation that will be integrated into his memory and become associated with despair and grief. The story starts with in court confrontational setting, Mr.
What we get is a portrait of Abner Snopes in the course of three or four days events through the eyes of his son. So what is it we learn of Abner Snopes?
He was injured in the Civil War: There was something about his wolflike independence and even courage, when the advantage was at least neutral, which impressed strangers, as if they got from his latent ravening ferocity not so much a sense of dependability as a feeling that his ferocious conviction in the rightness of his own actions would be of advantage to all whose interest lay with his.
Older, the boy might have remarked this and wondered why not a big one; why should not a man who had not only seen the waste and extravagance of war, but who had in his blood an inherent voracious prodigality with material not his own, have burned everything in sight?
Then he might have gone a step farther and thought that that was the reason: And older still, he might have divined the true reason: What we see is a nature who is in constantly combative due to the class consciousness of the southern culture.
Abner is repeatedly belligerent because he forever senses injustices to his honor. He may be above a slave, but now that slavery has been abolished he is not even above that. Inside Abner is a combustible dysfunctionality.
He is pricked by his sense of lower class status to the point of outrage, and fire is a perfect symbol for his outrage and belligerence. He retaliates through arson, as if that will reset the power struggle that has belittled him. His being an arsonist is an outward expression of his inner combustible dysfunctionality.
But if arson is his outward expression, you would never sense it from his demeanor, which is always on the surface in control. After the first court scene, after Sarty had been cross examined and everyone could sense that Sarty was going to contradict his father, Abner confronts his son at dinner besides the campfire: He merely ate his supper beside it and was already half asleep over his iron plate when his father called him, and once more he followed the stiff back, the stiff and ruthless limp, up the slope and on to the starlit road where, turning, he could see his father against the stars but without face or depth-a shape black, flat, and bloodless as though cut from tin in the iron folds of the frockcoat which had not been made lot him, the voice harsh like tin and without heat like tin: His father struck him with the flat of his hand on the side of the head, hard but without heat, exactly as he had struck the two mules at the store, exactly as he would strike either of them with any stick in order to kill a horse fly, his voice still without heat or anger: You got to learn.
Do you think either of them, any man there this morning, would? He was not crying. He just stood there.
We can feel the intensity inside his breast, but he is outwardly in control, without showing the heat of anger. Watching him, the boy remarked the absolutely undeviating course which his father held and saw the stiff foot come squarely down 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.
Could he have avoided the dung? So his stride has been altered by the war, and, like many veterans of wars, his nature has been altered by the war. So what was the genesis of his fate?William Faulkner's story, "The Bear," has come to occupy a place in his work similar to that held by "Billy Budd" in Herman Melville's and by The Old Man and the Sea in Ernest Hemingway's.
All. Summary and Analysis: "Barn Burning" Introduction Bookmark this page Manage My Reading List Faulkner's short story about Sarty Snopes and his father, Abner Snopes, has been praised ever since its first publication in Harper's Magazine for June William Faulkner's short story 'Barn Burning' tells the story of a boy, Sarty Snopes, and his father, Abner, a poor tenant farmer who gets into arguments with landowners and burns their barns.
A short summary of William Faulkner's Barn Burning. This free synopsis covers all the crucial plot points of Barn Burning. A Rose For Emily and Other Short Stories of William Faulkner study guide contains a biography of William Faulkner, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis of each his short stories, including a Barn Burning summary.
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Check out our revolutionary side-by-side summary and analysis. Barn Burning Summary & Analysis from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes. Sign In Sign Up. Lit. Guides. Lit. Terms. Shakespeare. The story opens in a general store that is also being used for a court .