Character Analysis: Barn Burning

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How Good a Job Does Sarty Do of Dealing with His Father:
“Barn Burning” by William Faulkner
Sarty’s father is a liar, a criminal, and an abuser. He spends his time hitting his wife and children for little to no reason. He burns the barns of anyone that says anything he doesn’t like, and he forces his family to cover for him. His son Sarty is forced to lie to cover for the what his father did, which was burn down some barns. He is forced to lie in front of a judge which causes him to be guilty himself (226). The situation with his father also causes a lot of moral debate inside Sarty’s head. He is forced to decide between what is morally right, which would be to confess what his father has done and backing his father up by lying. Overall the
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“maybe it will even change him now from what maybe he couldn’t help but be” (230). He’s hoping that his father has finally seen what he has been doing wrong and will change for the better. He hopes that going to the new place will make things better but he starts to realize he might be wrong when he sees his father deliberately track “droppings” into the De Spain house (230). Even after that he still has hope that his father will change and he won’t have to go through with another barn burning. He starts to realize that he was wrong when his father says “go get that oil” (234). The whole time he was running to get the oil he had thoughts about running away “I could run on and on…” but he decided he couldn’t because he would leave his family and the barn would still get burned down (234). He knew he could not stand by any longer and watch his father do this again…show more content…
Even after everything he still wanted his father to be a good man because he loved him. He said his father was a “brave man” because he was in the war (237). He wanted his father to die a good man. All this could have been avoided if he would have just told the judge about what his father had done in the first place instead of lying. The judge would have arrested him instead of forcing him to leave.” Take your wagon and get out of this country before dark” (227). He could also have not told anyone at all and just let his father get away with what he was doing but the older he got the more influenced he could be by his father. If his father got caught he could also get in trouble for lying all those years and go to jail with his father. “I reckon anybody named for Colonel Sartoris in this country can’t help but tell the truth” (226). The judge didn’t want to question him about the burning of the barn. “For a moment, he could not even see, could not see that the Justice’s face was kindly nor discern that his voice was troubled when he spoke to the man named Harris” (226). The judge didn’t want Sarty to lie for his father but he knew that he would, that’s why he didn’t want to question him. Even worse he could become like his father and burn the barns of the people that said something he didn’t like. He always believed the
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