Describe the way of life of the Snopes Family. Why do they keep moving? What is their social class?"Barn Burning" by William Faulkner

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cybil eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Snopes are tenant farmers. They move from farm to farm, working someone else's land, raising and harvesting crops; in exchange, they are given a place to live and typically a share of the crops. In Faulkner's works, a family like the Snopes has a very low social status, primarily because of their lack of education and their lifestyle. They own a few pieces of furniture, some cooking pots and utensils, clothes, and tools---all of which they can move in a single wagon that will also carry the family.

Although all tenant farmers move regularly, the Snopes family moves more often because of the barn burning episodes that Ab Snopes is prone to inflict on those he believes have wronged him in some way. He is bitterly resentful of just about everyone else, and he seems to have no problem finding a reason, at least in his mind, for burning someone's barn. Inevitably, when his crime is discovered, he and his family are run out of town because he is unable to pay for the damage, and of course, he never intended to pay anyway. It's a miserable life for his family.

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Barn Burning

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