Explain how the choices the characters, like Sarty, his father, Major Despain, the judge, make affect others in "Barn Burning."William Faulkner's story "Barning Buring" is about choices and the...

Explain how the choices the characters, like Sarty, his father, Major Despain, the judge, make affect others in "Barn Burning."

William Faulkner's story "Barning Buring" is about choices and the freedom and responsibility that comes with making them. Explain how the choices the characters, like Sarty, his father, Major Despain, the judge, etc, make affect others in the story.

Asked on by patkapat

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This is an interesting angle to take on this excellent story about hate and anger and the individual freedom to defy expectations. Certainly, we are presented with many characters whose fate is dependent upon the choices and actions of others. Perhaps most obviously we can start with Sarty's father, whose anger and choice to continually express that anger in acts of arson has devastating consequences on his family, who are reduced to the position of mendicants as they have to continually wonder around from place to place and are scorned and repulsed by others.

If we examine Abner Snopes, we can see that it is his continued anger against the world, and especially against those who have power over him, that directly leads to Sarty following his own conscience and defying his father's will by telling Major De Spain what his father is doing. This of course results in Sarty's effective isolation as he knows he can never return to his family, and the end of this excellent story features his walk away from what has happened and his family and in to an uncertain future, but one at least where he will be free from the influence of his father's poor choices:

He went on down the hill, toward the dark woods within which the liquid silver voices of teh birds called unceasing--the rapid and urgen beating of the urgent and quiring heart of the late spring night. He did not look back.

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