Barn Burning: What picture of the Snopes family life can you deduce?

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William Faulkner portrays a family that exists with almost no human warmth, yet generates a feeling of loyalty from son to father. Sarty feels this in the makeshift courtroom, despairing over his testimony against his father, as the familiar “fierce pull of blood” and later the “grief of blood.” Part of that pull was the boy’s understanding that he must lie for his father, implying that at age ten, he has already done so before.

When Sarty physically attacks the other boy for whispering “Barnburner,” his parents do not discipline him, which suggests that physical fights are sanctioned. His father also speaks abruptly to his mother when she wants to tend to Sarty’s injuries; she continues to ask him about being hurt as he...

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