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William Faulkners Barn Burning grimly tells the tale of Sarty, his selfish siblings and their pyromaniac father

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Introduction

Hidden Messages within Titles It has often been said to never judge a book by its title, since this provides the reader with an initial introduction to the story. To Kill a Mockingbird, Bleak House and The Grapes of Wrath are classic examples of this testament. The title can either be straightforward and catchy, revealing all its contents to the reader, or filled with hidden layers and meaning that only become gradually apparent. William Faulkner?s ?Barn Burning? grimly tells the tale of Sarty, his selfish siblings and their pyromaniac father. Conflicts arise for the itinerant farmhands when Sarty is called to testify against his father for an alleged arson. The ten year old boy is then faced with a crippling dilemma of telling the truth or protecting his father. Throughout the story, Faulkner uses symbolism, imagery, and repetition to allude to the underlying theme of destruction. While the title ?Barn Burning? is deceiving to its audience, the destruction of family, crumbling relationship with son and reclaiming power is continually represented by the destruction of the burning barns. ...read more.

Middle

With each barn that is burnt, Sarty and his father?s relationship slowly die. A normal father-son relationship offers hope and inspiration, but Abner kills this for his children, especially Sarty who is the youngest of them. His older children, already exposed to their father destructive ways are used to the ruins that he leaves in his path. Abner?s destructive ways forces Sarty to choice between the truth and his family. ?He aims for me to lie? and I will have to do it? (Faulkner 207), shows the how conflicted Sarty is with his decision whether to save or turn his father in. Faulkner repeatedly makes blood references when showing the crumbling relationship between father and son. This is done in the courtroom ?the old fierce pull of blood? (Faulkner 206) indicating this is the only time Sarty has felt close to his father. It is also mentioned when Abner threatens Sarty with abandonment ?you?ve got to learn to stick to your Roach 3 own blood or you ain?t going to have any blood to stick to you? (Faulkner 210). ...read more.

Conclusion

?The element of fire spoke to some deep mainspring of his father?s being? as the one weapon for the preservation of integrity, else breath were not worth breathing? (Faulkner209). By using fire to destroy what he doesn?t have, he takes away some of the power they hold over him. Roach 4 The title ?Barn Burning? implies to the reader that a barn will be burnt. Yet upon further reading, it shows what the burning barn represents to the characters. Abner Snope?s obsession with fire is equal to his obsession with power and respect. He craves the attention and feeling of rebirth with each new burning, but he does not understand the damage he does to his family. While Sarty is able to leave his family destructive ways, the memory of how he left will be with him forever. He is now a young run-away, trying to survive as a poor, uneducated, unclothed white boy in the woods. While Abner might be physically gone, his influence and beliefs are already set in his older children to perhaps carry as his tradition and the memory of how Sarty betrayed his family and father will continue to haunt his future. . ...read more.

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