Barn Burning is a short story that was written by an American author- William Faulkner. Faulkner has brought out a mysterious characterization of Snopes. It is a story that has ten year old Sarty Snopes as the main character who is faced by a conflict. Sarty’s father is a barn burner and he is divided as to whether he should let it to the judges that his father faces on two different occasions. In the first case, his father is taken to court and charged with burning Mr. Harry’s barn. Even though he is guilty, he walks away scot free and the bad thing about it is that it is not the first and is not going to be the last barn he burns as we see in the story later. It is an injustice and he wishes that he could stop it, but on the other hand, he should protect the family name. this brings out the basis upon which the story rotates.
The stor’s main theme is a conflict in which Sarty has to find which one among his family and his community he should identify with. Abner Snopes, Sarty’s father keeps on reminding him that family relations are very important and that “he was getting to be a man. He got to learn to stick to his own blood or he wont have any blood to sticking to him” (Main story: p 3) the major theme in the book is about finding one’s identity, or choosing what to identify with. There is constant identity crisis.
Sarty is caught off guard this time by his father’s intension to burn Mr. de Spain’s barn. He even tries to delay his plan by suggesting the sending of someone to warn Mr. de Spin that his barn will be burned but his father already knows what he stands for and won’t let his plan fail. Despite the mother’s effort to restrain him from going, he struggles with her and ensures that he defeats her. His aunt supports his course and even threatens to go if his mother does not let him go. Even his mother sides with him, that making the three of them against one. His problem is not abnormal after all. He frees himself and takes off towards Mr. de Spain’s house. He does the only sensible thing that crosses his mind, he reports to Mr. Spain who runs to the farm and shoots towards that direction. As the story ends, we do not know whether Sarty’s father is alive, but seemingly, it is too late. This time, the community justice overtook the loyalty to the family. As he sits in the crest of the hill and thinks about exactly what happened, Sarty is just sad, maybe because he has lost his family and will have to start a new life on his own. He will no longer be bound to the family ties that he was so much bound to that all his decisions depended on it. It’s a whole new beginning for him. He is presented with a world where he does not know anything and will have to learn all things, but there is hope. Nothing binds him to support injustices. He has all the justice within reach, he can keep his dignity. A new world is set for him.
In another light however, we find that the theme that the narrator tries to bring out is self eliminatory, if one of either sides is achieved, the other is eliminated. The author must have been aiming to eliminate the traditional views of Snopes that saw him making his son a slave to family support. If Sarty had chosen to be loyal to his father, he would never have tried to save the situation. Probably he would have ended up like his father since he would be an accomplice to the evil things that he did. On the other hand, we see Snopes having been made to be something we