Sartoris acted out of the spur of the moment but he did what his heart wanted him to do.
Young Sarty has a choice: He can be loyal to his father, his blood relative, or he can do what he innately senses is right.
It was reprinted in his Collected Stories (1950) and in the Selected Short Stories of William Faulkner (1961).
Part of the story's greatness is due to its major theme, the conflict between loyalty to one's family and loyalty to honor and justice.
At the end of the story, this is Sarty's dilemma — he has no place to go and no one to turn to. Harris had warned Snopes to keep his hog out of the farmer's cornfield, and he had even given Snopes enough wire to pen the hog; after the hog escaped yet again into Harris' field, the farmer kept the hog and charged Snopes a dollar for "pound fee"; Snopes paid the fee and sent word to Harris that "wood and hay kin burn." Because there is no proof — other than this enigmatic message — that Snopes is responsible for burning the barn, the judge is legally forced to find him innocent.
The opening of "Barn Burning" emphasizes the antithetical loyalties that confront Sarty. However, he warns Snopes to leave the county and not come back.