What is Faulkner trying to tell us in his story "Barn Burning"?

Expert Answers info

Gracie O'Hara eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write6,929 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

"Barn Burning," as many of Faulkner's other works, is set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County in Mississippi in the decades after the Civil War. An overarching theme is the class and racial struggles of the South after its defeat and how the old South of the slave plantations with its Anglophilia and gentility is fading, but the new South has yet to develop a cohesive culture and community. Faulkner is trying to portray for the reader the ways in which the changing nature of the South and the aftermath of the war affect individual characters.

In the character of Abner Snopes, Faulker shows how class resentment of the poor for the rich is mixed with a sort of racialized notion of the entitlement in whites. Snopes sees poverty...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 614 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Lenny Wiza, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)

bookM.A. from Hofstra University


calendarEducator since 2016

write1,511 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write13,728 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

litchick2011 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write142 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

check Approved by eNotes Editorial


epollock | Student

The story is mainly about loyalty to family or justice. Do you turn your father in to the law or remain loyal to him and not say anything. That is the emotional crisis that Sarty goes through. Abner comes across as nothing more than a monster throughout the story.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial