“Barn Burning”: Abner Snopes
“Barn burning” by William Faulkner is a southern tale that took place shortly after the Civil War. In this tale Abner Snopes is a local southern sharecropper, considered a mercenary by most. In the opening scene, Abner’s ten year old son Colonel Satoris “Sarty” is called to testify in court against his father who is accused of burning down his landlord Harris’s barn. Faulkner makes the reader aware of the sadistic relationship between Abner and Sarty when his father believes that Sarty was going to tell the justice the truth. After being hit by his own father, Sarty thinks to him self: “If I had said they wanted only the truth, justice, he would have hit me again.” (189). It is obvious that Sarty is afraid and aware the consequences if he acts out against his family. Throughout the story Abner displays an abusive, heartless character that is loyal only to him and struggles with class warfare and pyromania.
After being sentenced to leave the country the family arrives at their next house, He never shows any emotion to his family, never once an apology for putting them through so much for his actions. He demands his two daughters to “get out of them chairs and help your Ma unload” (189). Then he calls for the boy to follow him to the new house, so that Abner can “have a word with the man that aims to begin to-morrow owning me body and soul for the next eight months” (190). He feels as if life has dealt him with a bad had and in order to redeem some kind of dignity with himself he has to destroy what he does not have and may never have. Abner knows and feels the division of class and is prepared to prove it.
As walking up to the house, Abner purposely steps in a pile of droppings from a horse. His son, naive of the jealous, predacious rage that his father has before him is unaware of his father’s intentions. They enter the house where Abner proceeds to drag his manure stained shoe on his new landowner, Major De Spain’s white pale...