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What might Faulkner's opinion be of his character Abner Snopes in the story "Barn...

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jazz143 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 3, 2008 at 10:17 AM via web

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What might Faulkner's opinion be of his character Abner Snopes in the story "Barn Burning"?  How does he convey his attitude? 

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jamie-wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted March 3, 2008 at 1:10 PM (Answer #1)

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Faulkner meant to create an unlikable, irredeemable character in Abner Snopes.  Snopes is cruel and remorseless.  Despite a life of poverty and hard-knocks, it is impossible to have empathy or sympathy for this character.  Snopes has no love for anything or anyone.  For example, consider the nuances of cruelty taking place in this passage, as the narrator describes the content of the families heaped-up belongings in the wagon: "a  clock inlaid with mother-of-pearl, which would not run...which had been his mother's dowry. She was crying, though when she saw him she drew her sleeve across her face and began to descend from the wagon. "Get back," the father said.

He's hurt. I got to get some water and wash his. . .

"Get back in the wagon," his father said.

Later, near the end of the story, the reader learns what Sarty did not know.  While he desperately wanted to think of his father as once being honorable and brave, the truth of the matter was that his father was a mercenary, his "service" done for nothing more than "booty--it meant nothing and less than nothing to him if it were enemy booty or his own." 

Sarty takes a inexorable turn to maturity at the end, trying to warn of his father's intentional crime of barn burning.  He realizes too, what in his heart he'd known for years:  that his father was a coward and cared for no one, not even himself, much less for Sarty. 

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