Commentary on Closing Paragraph of Barn Burning

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In Faulkner’s “Barn Burning”, Faulkner tells the story of a young boy named Colonel Sartoris Snopes who was driven against his own dogmatic loyalty that his father, Abner Snopes, instilled in him by an innate sense of justice. In the closing passage Faulkner provides a resolution for the story, though he leaves the story of Sarty only partially resolved as he has overcome his father by his actions but not entirely as the sense of loyalty that he feels towards Abner as a result of his family ties being all he knows. He is now left alone on the crest of a hill, facing the dark ominous forest, with his back turned to glare of his home he knows he must move forward. Faulkner depicts Sarty in a state of transition, caught between the injustices of his past that have dominated his entire life and reconciling these injustices with an uncertain a future that he must face alone. Faulkner employs spatial imagery within the setting to illustrate the different stages in personal development Sarty must undergo. The passage takes place upon the highest point of a hill with Sarty’s placement upon the hill marking the turning point in his transition. Sarty is unsure of how far he has come but he finds himself now, “sitting on the crest of a hill”. The top of the hill represents the climactic point of Sarty’s journey. Before he was caught up in the moment, without much room for thinking he chose to follow his sense of justice. But his choice lead to an outcome he had not expected, and now that he has a chance to catch his breath Sarty is unaware of the great distance he has traveled, metaphorically rather than figuratively, this suggests that Sarty has not fully acknowledged the significance of his actions towards the building of his character. Faulkner uses Sarty’s home metaphorically as it symbolizes the familiarities and comforts he must leave behind in order to come to terms

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