The Barn Burning Blues Essay, Research Paper
William Faulkner’s short story, “Barn Burning”, is about a family’s struggle created by
their father. the main character and father, Abner Snopes, is a self-ritous “no-good” who
supports his family by moving from barn to barn as a tenant. He is able to do this by setting fire
to the barn he tends to, and then leaving the city and finding another gullible, victim who needs
him to tend to their land. Faulkner describes Abner as rough-cut whit-trash who’s only
motivation seems to be other’s down falls.
The overall impression Faulkner wants the reader to get is that his character Abner feels
the whole world is against him. The hardships placed on him from the civil war fuel his self-
pitied attitude. In the Civil War, he became a horse thief and was shot in the back of the leg
running from the horse owners, leaving him broke and crippled.
Emotionally, the reader has a feeling of sorrow or pity for Abner and his family. His
crimes are committed as survival tactics and not attempts to become an outlaw entrapanuer.
But, at the same time you develope a hatred for Abner for bringing his family into his unstable,
unyeilding life style. It’s a typical “Jerry Springer” family struggle where the father brings
everyone down with him. Without a positive role-model, who’s to say that the rest of the family
isn’t going to turn out like him.
A crazy as their live may seem, the snopes family valuses are similar to those of a
healthy family. With all of the drama going on, the family seems to grow closer the phrase
“blood is thicker than water.” Faulkner even refers to this when he is talking to his son privatley
and says “stick to your blood cuz’ you ain’t gonna find any that sticks to you.” Everyone works
together in the household, the father farms, the son’s help, the mother cooks and cleans, the
girl’s help. It’s almost as if they don’t even consider their fathers actions as crimes, but as jobs.
Unfortuantely, present times, the Snopes aren’t such an odd family. But in post-Civil
War times, these people are considered white trash and outsiders. Williman Faulkner’s, “Barn
Burning” is a message about no matter how hard times get, never trade in your family, because
their the only ones who won’t trade you in.