William Faulkner's Barn Burning: Carving A New Path

Improved Essays
Barn Burning: Carving a New Path
Often enough, children are close to clones of their parents. They speak, act, and even think similarly to how their parents do. The largest influence on a child’s personality is his or her environment. However, there are rare instances where against all odds, children differ drastically from their parents. In Barn Burning, by William Faulkner, Sartoris is trapped by his father’s influence, which leads to common predictions that Sartoris will follow in his footsteps. However, Sartoris’ moral code, personal thoughts, and hatred for his father, Snopes, proves that he will be a better man and have a better future than his father.
Faulkner introduces the reader to Snopes during his court case where he is accused
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His loyalty shifts over the course of the story, beginning with a desire to protect and defend his family and then ending with a need to do as much right as he can in the face of his father’s destruction. In the first paragraph, Faulkner describes Mr. Harris, the man who accuses Snopes, as Sartoris’ father’s enemy, and for a brief moment, Sartoris thinks similarly, “Our enemy he thought in that despair; ‘ourn! mine and hisn both! He’s my father” (citation). Even after this display of unity, when the family is leaving the courthouse, Snopes strikes the mules pulling the carriage with “two savage blows” (citation). When he and Sartoris are discussing the incident in the court, he hits Sartoris, “exactly as he had struck the two mules at the store, exactly as he would strike either of them with any stick in order to kill a horse fly” …show more content…
He constantly makes demands of his family, forcing most of the work onto them. He makes the children unload the wagon after he causes them to relocate, makes them clean the carpet he ruined, and forces them to hold hero Sartoris down while he goes to burn down the de Spain property. Sartoris grows to have a hatred for his father’s actions. When they arrived at their next house, Sartoris, thinking of the family in a house far away, says, “They are safe from him. People whose lives are a part of this peace and dignity are beyond his touch, he no more to them than a buzzing wasp.” (citation). He does not include himself or his family when he thinks this, knowing that they will never completely be rid of his father and his aggression. Snopes is the reason his family is miserable because he has forced them to move around and cannot hold down a steady job to provide for them. Despite this, Sartoris’ future will be brighter than his father’s life because over the course of the story, Sartoris shows compassion for others. His life has been dominated by his father telling him what to do, abuse, and lack of control but he still manages to dream of living his own life and not become a clone of his father. By the end of the story, the weight and burden of his father is now gone and he thinks of the new day that is coming, and he then leaves the scene and his father,

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