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Barn Burning Symbolism Essay Titles

Faulkner can be such as tease. He promises us barn burning, but doesn't quite deliver. We want raging flames; we want firefighters; we want Backdraft and, a young Drew Barrymore burning barns with her eyes. What do we get instead? The first barn has already burned before the story even starts. All we get to see is the court part. As for the second barn, the only thing we get for description is the word "glare" (107, 108).

Faulkner gives his readers credit for being able to imagine what a barn on fire looks like. Besides that, barn burning is more than just barns on fire. It's a concept, an idea, and it has different meanings for different characters and for different readers.

For example, for Abner barn burning seems like a sport, a game, and a source of power over those who have power over him. As we discuss in his "Character Analysis," Abner can be seen a rebel with cause. His barn burning can be considered an act of rebellion. After the night he burns the de Spain barn, it might become a vivid reminder of the night he lost his son, and the night his son betrayed him. Abner seems like the kind of guy who would consider Sarty's actions a betrayal.

For Sarty barn burning means "terror and fear," needless destruction, lying, and being on the outside of society (108). It also means the night he lost his father and, yes, betrayed him. Sarty seems aware that he must betray his father to avoid betraying himself. For Sarty barn burning is something to rebel against, instead of a tool for rebellion.

What does barn burning mean to de Spain? To the Justices of the Peace? To Lennie? To the brother? What does it mean to Abner and Sarty, either in addition to or even against what we've begun to discuss here?

Before you answer that, think about the grammatical aspect of the phrase barn burning. Anything with –ing on the end of it is describing a process. Words that end in –ing are in motion. The barn in the title is in a perpetual state of being on fire. It's always burning. Abner is always burning it. This brings to mind a famous quote from Faulkner character Gavin Stevens: "The past is never dead. It's never even past" (source).

For Sarty, the barns will be burning in his memory for a long time to come. In fact, nobody involved or in contact with Abner's barn burning will forget it easily.

Essay about Critical Analysis of Barn Burning by William Faulkner

1232 Words5 Pages

Critical Analysis of Barn Burning by William Faulkner The story of "Barn Burning" was "first published in the June of 1939 in the Harper's Magazine and later awarded the O. Henry Memorial Award for the best short story of the year." The author, William Faulkner, "was one of America's most innovative novelists". The way he describes the smells, sites and sounds of the rural late 1800's make you feel as if you are there with the characters in this story. Through the use of symbolism, Faulkner tells the story about a relationship of a father and son. Fire was the most vital symbol used and describes the way, Abner, the main character in the story faces all of his challenges. He lived his life like a flaming inferno destroying…show more content…

Abner was a mean and bitter man. Faulkner uses symbols that refer to the dark side and of how ridged Abner was by stating, "his father, Stiff in his black Sunday coat," (398) "stiff black coat," and his "stiff black back, the stiff and implacable limp of a figure." Abner felt there was discrimination by the rich folks against the poor people and that he was always looked down upon. It was always the other man that got the lucky break and a poor man never would get to be so lucky. The only way he felt he could attempt to get ahead, was to beat the other man to the punch first. Abner was just like the fires he built, uncontrollable, ruthless, and destroying everything he comes in touch with.

He was a poor Civil War veteran that traveled from farm to farm as a sharecropper. As a sharecropper his family had to share up too half of his harvest from his crops with the landowner. They always seemed to find work, but had to live in poor conditions. Abner had no hope of improving his financial condition and never new what the future would hold for him and his family from one job to the next.

Abner told Sarty "You are getting to be a man. You got to learn. You got to learn to stick to your own blood or you ain't going to have any blood to stick to you?" Abner has a personality that is always us against them. It was the family versus the enemy. For Abner there are two types of people, his

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