Both stories have a preadolescent protagonist. Sarty is ten years old, and Andy (Andrea) is nine.Both young people are trying tofind who they arein the choices theymake now. These choices will determine the kind of adults they will be when they grow up. Although both Sarty and Andy struggle in their relationships with their fathers, Sarty's situation is much more serious than Andy's.
In "Barn Burning", Sarty's father is a vicious criminal who has moved his family at least twelve times in ten years because of the father's warlike attitude toward society. He's a quarrelsome and violent man who has taught Sarty no moral values; instead, he teaches him immorality at its worst. His father expects Sarty to be loyal by lying for him. In the end, Sarty rebels against his father by stopping him from burning another barn. Sarty frees himself from his father and the chaotic life his father constantly exposed him to.He takes a stand to do what's right even though he's now alone. The only way Sarty can mature is by distancing himself from his father and what he stands for.
In "Doe Season", Andy goes hunting with her father and another man and his son. She's on the verge of young womanhood, but she's confused by what that means. After shooting a deer, she runs away when the men gut the deer. This hunting trip is her initiation into the adult world, and she begins to mature into the woman Andrea instead of the tomboy Andy.