Abner In William Faulkner's Barn Burning

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The perception of Abner’s perfidious nature is undeniably evident within the early paragraphs of the story. Although unknown to Sarty, the treacherous act leading to the limp of his father’s leg is revealed by the narrator. As the first case is being dismissed, Faulkner unveils the context of this deceit by stating, “the wiry figure walking a little stiffly from where a Confederate provost’s man’s musket ball had taken him in the heel on a stolen horse thirty years ago” (258). In addition to revelations of the past, the nomadic- like movements of the family further enhances the scrutiny of the disloyal man who leads them. Within this aspect is shown the dismal repetition of rejection and being an outcast. Throughout the story, Abner derives an almost joyful mindset to the dismay of others. The cumulative outcome of this ethos is displayed during the duration of this narrative and the repercussions are starkly illustrated. The first manifestation eluding to Abner being an outcast is the whisper of “Barn burner” after the conclusion of the first trial (259). Furthermore, the…show more content…
Such actions imply the voracity of this selfishness that is passed down to the subsequent generation. As they [The latter generation] learn the skillsets of their father, it becomes evident the “wolf-like indenpendece” (259) is instilled through a passage equivalent to “The nights were still cool and they had a fire against it, of a rail lifted from a nearby fence” (260). This reinforces the tribal mentality shown in a conversation with Sarty where he [Abner] advises “You got to learn to stick to your own blood or you ain’t going to have any blood stick to you” (260). Across the spectrum of this manuscript Faulkner maintains Abner as a flat character while introducing the traits of a previous time and proliferate the quirks learned from the
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