Why does Mr. Snopes insist that Sarty be held when he heads for the De Spain barn in "Barn Burning"? Describe how Sarty breaks free.  What do his subsequent actions bring...

Why does Mr. Snopes insist that Sarty be held when he heads for the De Spain barn in "Barn Burning"?

Describe how Sarty breaks free.  What do his subsequent actions bring about? 

"Barn Burning" by William Faulkner

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mr. Snopes insists that Sarty be held when he heads out to burn the De Spain barn because he knows that his son will try to stop him.  Sarty had been present in "court" when Snopes was being tried for the last barn he burned, and the father could tell by observing Sarty's behavior that the boy would have testified against his father if he had been called to the stand.  Sarty is at an age where he is developing his own sense of right and wrong, yet he is at the mercy of his unscrupulous father, and feels acutely "the terrible handicap of being young".  Snopes knows that it is only a matter of time until his son will stand up and try to stop him from his lawless doings.

Snopes leaves Sarty in his mother's grip when he leaves, but Sarty struggles.  His Aunt, knowing what Sarty wants to do, tells his mother to let him go.  Although his mother does not, Sarty breaks free anyway, and runs to the De Spain house to warn the plantation owner that Snopes is about to burn his barn.  De Spain rushes off to save his barn, and Sarty flees, knowing he can never go home again.  At midnight he sits at the crest of a hill, and is filled "no longer (with) terror and fear but just grief and despair".  As he waits for dawn he experiences a sense of peace, and walks away to whatever destiny holds for him, never looking back. 

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Barn Burning

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