Barn Burning Essay

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Morality within a Sharecropper Soon after the fall of the confederacy, the South underwent series of changes in a time period known as the Reconstruction. During the Reconstruction, tension between the classes intensified as they fought to preserve what they owned, as well as their places in the society. In order to illustrate the strength of morality despite the harsh life of a sharecropper during the post- Civil War South, William Faulkner, in his “Barn Burning,” portrays Colonel Sartoris as a boy in quest for the ethical values of life; moreover, Faulkner establishes these ethical values through Sartoris’ barn- burning father, Abner, and his family vocation, sharecropper. In his short story, “Barn Burning,” William Faulkner portrays Colonel Sartoris as the boy in quest for the ethical values of life. Colonel Sartoris, better known as Sarty, is raised in a sharecropping family. Growing up as a son of a sharecropper, Sarty does not receive proper education as well as proper manners. Moreover, by possessing a father who lack moral standards, he is revealed to the dark characteristics of life, such as revenge, grudge, hatred, and dishonesty. His father raises him to “stick to your [his] own blood” (Faulkner 8), which prohibits him from rendering reasonable choices. However, Sarty develops a sense of righteousness as he witnesses the effect of those dark characteristics of life, and is “torn between the conflicting loyalties, to his blood on the one side and to his sense of justice and righteousness on the other side” (Skei 218). Sarty’s alteration over time supports what Skei observes in Faulkner stories, that Faulkner utilizes different aspects and characteristics of life to prove change as an “inevitable” process in human beings (Skei 17). As the story progresses and Sarty matures, he learns that superior things in life, such as “truth and justice”
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