To what extent does class play a role in "Barn Burning"?

Expert Answers
Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Class is at the center of Faulkner's, "Barn Burning."  Set in the post-Civil War South, the Snopes family are seasonal workers and are very poor.  Though they are not obviously mistreated by the middle or upper classes, father Abner certainly feels that they are. 

Abner's rebellion seems to be focused on his situation as a whole, and on society as a whole, rather than on any particular person.  Indeed, he himself creates most of the trouble he faces.  His problem is with the system itself, although he may or may not be capable of verbalizing this.

To Abner, his lower-class place in society leads to the loss of his dignity.  Burning barns, in his mind, is how he gets it back.

epollock | Student

Class plays an extensive part in "Barn Burning" by William Faulkner. Just the fact that Abner Snopes is at the very poor end of the class system would give a reader insight into the actions of the plot. Abner is a tenant farmer who burns down barns and is forced to move from one town to the next. Abner believes that there are two kinds of people in the world: "kin" and others. he knows that Sarty would never go against the family, but in the end, Sarty matures and does the right thing. The fact that they are poor is the motivation behind the actions of the characters.