What is the main conflict in Barn Burning

Expert Answers info

Walter Fischer eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2013

write3,984 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

The main conflict in William Faulkner's story "Barn Burning" is between Abner Snopes and his son, Colonel Sartoris

As Faulkner's story begins, the reader is immediately led to believe that the conflict that will dominate "Barn Burning" is between the Snopes and the town in which they live. In the opening paragraphs, the author depicts a man standing accused of burning his neighbor's barn—a serious offense in the agriculture-dominated American South. That man is Abner, and watching the legal proceedings taking place in the general store/courthouse is Sartoris, Abner's ten-year-old son. Initial questioning leads the reader to believe that Abner may very well be guilty of the charge of burning his neighbor's barn, with the testimony regarding the African American man's message to the barn's owner, Mr. Harris ("He said, 'He say to tell you wood and hay kin burn.' ") seeming particularly incriminating. Faulkner reinforces this notion with his depiction of the young boy's perceptions of...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1,192 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Lenny Wiza eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write1,468 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write15,968 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial