What is the major issue in William Faulker's Barn Burning? Is this issue a problem in today's society? Why or why not?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The major issue in Barn Burning is loyalty: Loyalty to social status and loyalty to family. Sartoris is in a conundrum intending to figure out what to do when his father, a pyromaniac and classicist individual decides to burn yet another barn belonging to a rival family. He had to make the massive decision of turning his father in, regardless of family ties. This was a heavy load to carry, but he did it because he knew it was the right thing to do. Furthermore, it initiated him into manhood, by having to put aside his designated role as a son, and take his own role as a social reformer. This was tough for him but was nevertheless done.

A situation of this kind is very likely to happen with modern families. Suppose your father or brother were drug dealers and were passing out drugs to children. It is your responsibility to either live with it in secret, or disclose it so that crimes don't continue to be committed. It is certainly a topic that carriesĀ  this day and age, and a very latent issue.

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Barn Burning

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