What is the main conflict in Barn Burning? 

1 Answer | Add Yours

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The main conflict in “Barn Burning” is the character vs. character conflict between father and son.

A conflict is a struggle between opposing forces.  They can be external or internal.  An external conflict is a conflict between a character and an outside force.  In a character vs. character conflict, two characters have a problem. 

Sarty really admires and appreciates his father at the beginning of the story.  He assumes that his father is being wronged.  Unfortunately, Sarty has to learn that his father is not innocent.  He really has been starting fires.

He could not see the table where the Justice sat and before which his father and his father's enemy (our enemy he thought in that despair; ourn! mine and hisn both! He's my father!) stood, but he could hear them, the two of them that is…

When they move yet again, and his father gets into a conflict again, Sarty realizes that his father is a barn burner.  He decides to tell on him, to prevent him from burning another barn.  Unfortunately, his father finds out and ties him up, and by the time he gets out it is too late.

The conflict between Sarty and his father is a character vs. character conflict because Sarty realizes his father is not someone to be admired, and because Sarty tries to prevent his father from burning another barn.


We’ve answered 319,808 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question