Barn Burning Summary

At this point, the fact that Faulkner wrote his novel in 1939, the year when the aftermath of the American Civil War peaked higher than ever, is worth considering.Therefore, it can be considered that the novel, with its characters, is a product of its time, just as dark and miserable as poor Abner.The reader’s interest is stimulated by the desire to know what the boy will do and why.

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The landowners had amassed wealth and build themselves mansions whereas their workers 9the poor) lacked permanent homes, since they lived as squatters.

Despite a relatively simple plot, the novel actually touches upon a number of significant social issues which have survived the test of time and are topical even now, developing a satiric representation of these issues (Zender 48).

One of these issues concerns the subject of crimes and the motivations of criminals.

Indeed, while in certain cases, there is nothing behind a crime than a sick mind, most of the time, criminals appear to be completely sane and, therefore, are motivated by certain outside factors. ) stood, but he could hear them, the two of them that is, because his father had said no word yet” (Faulkner 1).

This includes the narrator, the ten-year-old traumatized Sarty and the mature Sarty whom the narrator makes recall his tormented childhood twenty years later.

The narrator has a sophisticated, intellectual and very poetic presence throughout the story.

The author focuses on the relationship between Abner Snopes (Ab), a sharecropper, and his ten-year-old son, Sarty, as dictated by the socioeconomic factors of the community.

Abner is depicted as a virulently angry man who embarks on burning barns as revenge for real or imagined injustices.

It is also worth mentioning that the presence of barns is the courthouse – the place where legal proceedings took place.

It is ironic in the sense that Abner is punished for his injustices to the wealthy yet the justice system does not consider the social injustices of the rich society to the poor.


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