Barn Burning: Abner Snopes Character Analysis Essay

1073 Words Sep 25th, 1999 5 Pages
William Faulkner's short story "Barn Burning" describes a typical relationship between wealthy people and poor people during the Civil War. The main character, Abner Snopes, sharecrops to make a living for his family. He despises wealthy people. Out of resentment for wealthy people, he goes and burns their barns to get revenge. Abner's character over the course of the story is unchanging in that he is cold hearted, lawless, and violent.<br><br>First, Abner's unchanging character shows his cold heartedness. After being sentenced to leave the country for burning a man's barn, he shows no emotions to his family. During the story, there was not a time when he apologized or offered a word of encouragement to them. His tone of voice when talking …show more content…
Abner slaps his son when it is evident that he was about to tell the truth about Mr. Harris' barn. His son's simple reply of yes saved him from more torture beatings from his father. While paying a non-welcomed visit to Major DeSpain's house, he enters the house, "flinging the door back and the Negro also and entering, his hat still on his head" (221). This showed that Abner has no remorse for anyone. This started the incident with the rug, which later led to the burning of DeSpain's barn. <br><br>He shoves his wife away when she tugs at his arm and tries to restrain him. Intending to guard against Satry's betrayal, he picks up his son by the back of the shirt and hands him to his wife. He orders he to hold on to him and not let him run away. After Snopes leaves the house with his older son and the can of kerosene, Sarty escapes from his mother and runs to the house of Major DeSpain. The Major, informed by Sarty of the danger, finds Snopes and his other son and shoots them before they can burn his barn (731). This event sparked the end of the violent acts of Abner, forever.<br><br>The cold hearted, lawless, and violent roles Abner Snopes plays throughout the story, shows his unchanging character. The story portrays how a poor man feel's when the law is based on taking the rich man's side. It follows him from being a cold-hearted father and husband to a lawless and violent man, which, towards the end of the story, leads him to the death of himself.

Related Documents