Barn Burning Summary

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The story recounts the slow, reluctant emergence of Sarty into rebellion against his father.

Faulkner employed a unique narration technique, plot, setting, characterization and symbols to bring out the themes of the story.

Abner neither robs them of the valuable items which he would take into his possession as something that belongs to him for his hard work; nor does he start murdering the people whom he considers his enemies.

Quite on the contrary, his dissatisfaction with the society makes him set a barn on fire.

It is also worth mentioning that the presence of barns is the courthouse – the place where legal proceedings took place.

It is ironic in the sense that Abner is punished for his injustices to the wealthy yet the justice system does not consider the social injustices of the rich society to the poor.The clan depicts the poor tenants that worked in the Whites’ plantations since the 1880s (Skei 35).The story largely depicts the socioeconomic relationship between the landowners and the tenants.The landowners had amassed wealth and build themselves mansions whereas their workers 9the poor) lacked permanent homes, since they lived as squatters.Despite a relatively simple plot, the novel actually touches upon a number of significant social issues which have survived the test of time and are topical even now, developing a satiric representation of these issues (Zender 48).This includes the narrator, the ten-year-old traumatized Sarty and the mature Sarty whom the narrator makes recall his tormented childhood twenty years later.The narrator has a sophisticated, intellectual and very poetic presence throughout the story.The reader’s interest is stimulated by the desire to know what the boy will do and why.The author uses a setting that out rightly evokes the social status of the key parties in the story.With the help of a range of rather simple literature devices, as well as with quire a simple plot, Faulkner manages not only to develop an intriguing narrative, but also to provide sufficient foil for the further character growth, leaving the readers on a cliff hanger at the very end of the short novel.In writing ‘Barn Burning’, Faulkner employed a very straightforward plot. By so doing, he impels his son prematurely toward manhood when he (Sarty) must choose between the dictates of his own conscience and his father’s frontier justice. It begins with a dawning awareness of the bondage of blood ties and ends with a forceful assertion of independence.


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