What is the agreement between Abner Snopes and Major de Spain?

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dstuva's profile pic

Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In William Faulkner's "Barn Burning," Abner is supposed to farm the major's land and grow crops, then presumably give a set percentage of the proceeds to the major.  Abner and his family stay on the major's property and live in the shack provided for them. 

After Abner dirties the major's rug, he is supposed to clean it for the major, although this agreement is only inferred by the reader since we don't hear the conversation. 

Of course, before Abner can grow the crops, he ruins the rug by having his daughters clean it with lye, which destroys the rug.

Finally, the justice of the peace rules in the court case brought by Abner himself that Abner should pay the major ten bushels of corn to replace the ruined rug once the crop is harvested.  Instead, Abner decides to burn his barn.

epollock's profile pic

epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

Abner Snopes is a tenant sharecropper newly hired by Major de Spain. Abner goes to introduce himself but he first steps in horse manure then enters the house and ruins de Spain's rug. De Spain then brings it to the Snopes women to clean, but they ruin it further. Major de Spain requests 20 bushels of corn as payment for the ruined rug. Abner sues de Spain in court and wins, but he doesn't feel vindicated and decides to burn down de Spain's barn.

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